PHILADELPHIA – Just two matches remain in the spring season for the University of Pennsylvania women’s tennis team, and both are crucial Ivy League matches. The Quakers end the season by traveling to No. 75 Cornell on Friday, before hosting No. 46 Columbia Sunday at 1 p.m.
Penn (8-8, 1-4 Ivy) will be looking to end the Ivy and regular season with two wins, and send its two seniors Sol Eskenazi and Alexandra Ion off on a winning note, when it honors them on Senior Day Sunday.
The Quakers split a pair of Ivy League matches last weekend, defeating No. 63 Harvard, 5-2, before being narrowly edged by No. 37 Dartmouth, 4-3.
Penn will face Cornell (9-7, 3-2 Ivy) at 2 p.m. on Friday, before hosting Columbia (11-7, 3-2 Ivy) on Sunday beginning at 1 p.m. *Please note Sunday's match was moved back one hour from previously scheduled.
SCOUTING CORNELL: The Big Red are newly ranked in the ITA poll, coming in at No. 75. Cornell is currently tied for second in the Ivy League with a 3-2 record with Penn and Princeton remaining. The Big Red’s Ivy wins have come over Columbia 4-3, Harvard 5-2, and Brown 4-3. Cornell is led by junior Dena Tanenbaum and sophomore Alexandra D’Ascenzo.
THE SERIES WITH CORNELL: Penn is 32-5 overall versus the Big Red. The Quakers have won 8 of its last 10 matchups with Cornell, including a 5-2 victory last season in the final match of the season. The victory was Penn’s lone Ivy win a year ago.
SCOUTING COLUMBIA: The Lions have won three of their last five matches, picking up Ivy wins over Dartmouth 6-1, Harvard 5-2, and Yale 6-1. Columbia lost matches at Cornell and at Brown, both by 4-3 scores. The Lions are led in the top two positions by sophomore Tina Jiang and junior Kanika Vaidya, who is Penn freshman Ria Vaidya’s older sister.
THE SERIES WITH COLUMBIA: Penn leads the overall series with the Lions 25-5. Four of Columbia’s five victories have come in the last five meetings between the two schools. The Quakers last win came in 2011, a 5-2 victory. Last year, Columbia defeated the Red and Blue 6-1.
SENIOR – SOL ESKENAZI: Sol Eskenazi has played every match of her career at Penn in the No. 1 position in singles and doubles for the Quakers. She currently holds a career overall singles record of, 75-28, and a career overall doubles record of, 72-26. She has been named First-team All-Ivy in singles all three years to this point, becoming the first Penn player since 2008 to receive the honor three-straight times. She was also named First-team All-Ivy in doubles those years, completing the feat with three different doubles partners. She became the first player in program history with three-straight First-team All-Ivy selections in doubles. She most recently received an Athletic Award of Excellence from the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women.
SENIOR – ALEXANDRA ION: Alexandra Ion has showed a tremendous amount of versatility in her career, having played in every position of the Penn lineup except the No. 1 position. In that time she holds a career singles record of 48-47, and a career doubles record of 34-49. Ion has totaled double digits singles victories in her freshman year (18), sophomore year (12), and junior year (11).
LAST WEEKEND VS. HARVARD: It was a well-earned first Ivy League victory for Penn as the Quakers defeated No. 63 Harvard, 5-2. Along with being Penn’s first win over an Ivy opponent this season, it was also its first victory over a ranked opponent this spring. Four Penn tennis players pushed the Red and Blue to victory over the Crimson – senior Agustina Sol Eskenazi, junior Sonya Latycheva, sophomore Kana Daniel, and freshman Ria Vaidya.
LAST WEKEND VS. DARTMOUTH: Building momentum following its win over No. 63 Harvard, Penn pushed No. 37 Dartmouth to the brink before falling 4-3 to the Big Green. The Quakers nearly pulled out the victory over Dartmouth solely in single matches, after dropping the doubles point to begin play. Senior Alexandra Ion won in the sixth position 6-2, 6-4 followed by wins from freshmen Lina Qostal and Ria Vaidya. Qostal won 6-4, 6-1 in the fourth position and Vaidya won 6-1, 6-0 in the fifth position. In the top spot for Penn, senior Agustina Sol Eskenazi went three sets with Dartmouth’s Taylor Ng, each going to a tiebreak. Eskenazi came up just short in the back-and-forth contest, falling 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 7-6(5).
FRESHMAN VAIDYA IN THE IVIES: After not playing in the fall season, Penn freshman Ria Vaidya has come on strong for the Quakers, going 3-2 in Ivy League play thus far. Vaidya has singles wins versus Princeton, Harvard, and Dartmouth, with her two losses coming in the third set, one by tiebreak.