PHILADELPHIA - Reversing the order of play and contesting the singles matches first, women's tennis jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Buffalo Saturday afternoon inside the Levy Tennis Pavilion behind strong singles performances from freshmen Alex Ion and Srinidhi Raghavan.
The Quakers would force five-all first sets in three of the other singles matches and a third set inthefourth, but Buffalo would capture all four of those matches to claim victory. With the match in hand, the Bulls put on an early charge and held on late to secure the doubles point.
Playing at No. 4, Raghavan gave Penn the early 1-0 lead with her fifth singles win of the year, running her spring record to 3-2 overall. The freshman made quick work of her first set, winning 6-1, to get the early lead. In the second, she would have a little more difficulty, but still managed to come away with a 6-4 win for the straight-set victory.
At No. 2, Ion finished the first set, winning 6-3; however, there were several times throughout the opening set that said had to work hard to keep points alive and turn them into winners. In the second, she did not allow a game in her 6-0 win, taking her match in straight sets. In the process, she picked up the highest-ranked win of her young career andrecorded her team-leading 13th win.
Playing her third consecutive match at No. 1, Stephanie Do went back-and-forth with her opponent before their first set was tied at five-all. However, her opponent took the next games, winning 7-5, and carried that momentum into her second set victory, 6-0. Buffalo would then tie the match with a win at No. 5. Jules Rodin fought back from a tough first set, even the score at one-all with a 6-4 win in the second set. In the decisive third set, Penn's captain was right on serve, but the Bulls No. 5 took the last three games to tie the team score at two-all.
The Quakers also played a pair of tight first sets at No. 3 and No. 6 to finish out the singles play. After playing a back-and-forth first set that lasted longer than the entire No. 4 match, Emma Whitfield, playing at No. 6, fell victim to the same fate as Do, falling 7-5, 6-0. Daniela DePaoli, playing at No. 3, also fell after forcing a five-all first set. In the second, she was right in the match at 3-2, but her opponent took the final three games to capture the fourth singles victory for the visitors.
With the team score already decided after the momentum swing in singles, Buffalo came out firing to start the doubles play. Trying tobattlethrough some pain, Penn's second pairing of Raghavan and Rodin played two games, but were unable to continue and had to retire from their match.
At No. 1 and No. 3, the Bulls jumped out to commanding leads early, but Penn mounted furious rallies to try and get back in thosematches. At No. 3, DePaoli and Whitfield found themselves down 5-0 after five games, but then got the score back to five-all. After splitting the next two games, Buffalo would finally take the No. 3 doubles, 8-6. At No. 1, Do and Ion were on the verge of not winning a game, down 7-0, but rallied with six straight games to get right back in the match. Unfortunately, the early hole would prove too big to climb out of as they fell in the next game, 8-6.
The Quakers will now have just shy of two weeks to get ready for their annual trip to Florida over Spring Break. While in Florida, Penn will take on Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday, March 8 and Florida International that Friday, March 9. Penn will return to its home courts on March 21 against Temple.
Buffalo 5, Penn 2
1: Tanvi Shah (B) def. Stephanie Do (P), 7-5, 6-0
2: Alex Ion (P) def. Marta Stoyanova (B), 6-3, 6-0
3: Tamara Markovic (B) def. Daniela DePaoli (P), 7-5, 6-2
4: Srinidhi Raghavan (P) def. Kira Golenko (B), 6-1, 6-4
5: Miranda Podlas (B) def. Jules Rodin (P), 6-1, 4-6, 6-3
6: Anamaria Candanoza (B) def. Emma Whitfield (P), 7-5, 6-0
*Singles were contested before doubles
1: Tanvi Shah/Miranda Podlas (B) def. Stephanie Do/Alex Ion (P), 8-6
2: Marta Stoyanova/Tamara Markovic (B) def. Srinidhi Raghavan/Jules Rodin (P), 2-0, ret.
3: Kira Golenko/Anamaria Candanoza (B) def. Daniela DePaoli/Emma Whitfield (p), 8-6