PHILADELPHIA – The Penn women’s tennis team is set to travel to California this spring break to take on numerous challenging teams. The Quakers are coming into the week with a 6-1 record, with their only loss coming to a No. 22 nationally ranked VCU team two weeks ago. In their last match, No. 37 Penn took out No. 44 Maryland, 5-2.
First, the Quakers will take on No. 41 ranked UC Irvine on Monday, March 5. Last year, Penn fell to the Anteaters 4-3, losing at the number 2, 4, 5, and 6 singles spots, after winning the doubles point. Things might be different this year, as UC Irvine has lost two girls from last year’s starting line-up, and the Quakers have only made themselves stronger, with talented additions throughout their roster.
After competing at UC Irvine, Penn will take on No. 35 Long Beach State, a team they have not played in two years. The last time these two teams faced off in 2005, Penn defeated the 49ers, 5-2. On March 9, the Quakers will travel to San Diego to participate in a tournament at the University of San Diego. They will face the host team, San Diego, as well as St. Mary’s, and the University of San Francisco.
With the Ivy schedule right around the corner, Penn is staying focused and determined. They are taking every match as a learning experience, and as an extra chance to prepare both mentally and physically for the Ivy League marathon. Coach Michael Dowd has two main goals for the spring break trip.
“Our first goal is to play a lot of tennis,” Dowd said. “We are taking a big squad this year, ten players, and everyone will get a chance to play.”
Penn is taking more girls then usual this year. There are a few new players on the team, including two freshmen, Ekaterina Kosminskaya and Maria Anismova. Coach Dowd is hoping this trip will be a chance for the newer members of the team to really become a part of the Penn tennis family.
“Our second goal is to have the team bond with the new players,” Dowd said.
The girls share the coaches’ plans, but have some expectations of their own. Junior co-captain, Julia Koulbitskaya is excited and ambitious for her third spring break trip.
“I think the goal of the trip is to go undefeated as a team,” she said. “We are playing teams right around our level, and I feel that we have the depth and the talent to go undefeated this year.”
Penn will face a good test on the West Coast. With their main goal of an Ivy League championship in mind, the Quakers are determined to make this trip the most successful yet, and to continue their winning ways.
By Maria Anismova, C’10