PHILADELPHIA - Starting its Ivy League schedule with three matches on the road, the University of Pennsylvania women's tennis team will host its first two Ivy home matches this weekend against Harvard and Dartmouth. Penn currently holds the No. 74 ranking in the ITA, while Harvard is No. 63 and Dartmouth sits in the 52nd spot.
The Quakers are coming off their first Ancient Eight win of the season, defeating Brown, 4-3 in Providence. Penn once again shined in doubles play and scattered wins throughout the ladder to defeat the Bears. Penn earned the doubles point by taking two of the three matches, while leaving the third match unfinished. Kana Daniel and Sonya Latycheva continued their dominance, improving to 13-2 on the year with a 6-4 win. Luba Vazhenina and Lina Qostal clinched the point of Saturday with a 6-4 win of their own. Marta Kowalska and Ria Vaidya were denied a doubles win in a match that wasn't finished while leading 5-4.
In singles, Daniel got back on track, snapping a three-match losing streak. The Spaniard crusied to a two-set win. Ria Vaidya put the Quakers within a point of a team-win when she worked a two-set victory. Vaidya won both sets 6-4. Clinching the first Ivy win of the season for Penn was Marta Kowalska. The Polish import dominated both sets, winning 6-2 and 6-3.
SCOUTING HARVARD: At 10-8 on the season, Ivy play has not been kind to the Crimson, Penn's Saturday opponent. They are still in search of its first win in conference play after losses to Cornell and No. 33 Columbia last weekend. Harvard is no stranger to playing ranked opponents with eight matches against top 75 foes already this season. The Crimson are 3-5 in those matches, but with a huge win over No. 24 Fresno State in March while playing at UC Santa Barbara.
LAST SEASON AGAINST HARVARD: It was a well-earned first Ivy League victory of 2015 for Penn as the Quakers defeated No. 63 Harvard, 5-2, on the road. Along with being Penn’s (8-7, 1-3 Ivy) first win over an Ivy opponent this season, it was also its first victory over a ranked opponent last spring. In singles competition, the Quakers took the top three matches, with Sol Eskenazi, Kana Daniel, and Sonya Latycheva picking up victories. Daniel and Latycheva won in straight sets, while Eskenazi won in three sets. Penn’s other singles victory came from Ria Vaidya, winning in three sets in the No. 5 position.
SCOUTING DARTMOUTH: At 10-4 on the season and 1-1 in the Ivy League, Dartmouth heads to the City of Brotherly Love on Sunday after a meeting with Princeton on Saturday. They began Ivy play with a loss to No. 37 Columbia, but bounced back nicely with a 6-1 win over Cornell. In six matches against ranked opponents the Big Green are 3-3, with wins over No. 54 Brown, No. 49 Boston College, and 58th ranked Minnesota.
LAST SEASON AGAINST 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. Penn (8-8, 1-4 Ivy) nearly pulled out the victory over Dartmouth in single matches, after dropping the doubles point to begin play. The No. 4-6 players that came through with victories for Penn. 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.
BATTLING BACK: It was not an easy two weeks for Kana Daniel. The Quakers top player lost three consecutive matches before her win over Brown last Saturday. Daniel won six consecutive matches to start the season before her first loss to the eighth-ranked player in the country, Texas' Breaunna Addison in three sets. Daniel is now 8-4 on the season.
DELIGHTFUL DOUBLES: Despite not being ranked, the pair of Sonya Latycheva and Kana Daniel have been mightily impressive in 2016. The International duo have posted a 13-2 record and have been key to the Quakers quick starts this season. The two will have their hands full on Sunday when they face the No. 18 doubles team in the country in Dartmouth's Taylor Ng and Kristina Mathis.