FORT MYERS, Fla. - In its first action in Florida, women's tennis got back on the winning track with a 5-1 victory over Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday morning. The two squads were only able to complete five of the six singles matches with rain in the area. Despite the weather and playing with all its players healthy, Penn (4-4) evened its record after playing a tough non-conference schedule back home before it traveled south.
Right out of the gates, the Quakers looked sharp as they took the doubles point. It was Florida Gulf Coast that would take the first match of the doubles play as freshmen Alex Ion and Srinidhi Raghavan were unable to capture a game in their first match played together at No. 2. However, Penn stormed back at No. 3 when Stephanie Do and Emma Whitfield allowed just three games in their match, winning 8-3. This was also the first time that Do and Whitfield played together this season.
Penn would then take the doubles point with Sol Eskenazi and Jules Rodin playing together again at the No. 1 doubles position. This was the first time that these two had played together since beating the No. 37 doubles team in the county. Today, Rodin and Eskenazi won, 8-5. They are now a 3-1 together playing No. 1 doubles.
With the doubles point in hand, Penn would quickly extend its lead and clinch the match in singles. Returning to the top of the lineup, Eskenazi allowed just three games in her return to the courts, winning 6-1, 6-2. She is now 11-3 overall dating back to fall and 4-1 at No. 1 singles this spring with her only loss coming in the match she was forced to retire from.
Do and Ion returned back to their positions from the beginning of the season at No. 2 and No. 3. Each won in straight sets to help Penn clinch the match. Do won both her sets in hard-fought 6-4 fashion. She picked up her eighth win in the process and now holds a 3-2 record at the No. 2 position this spring. Ion only allowed three games to her opponent at No. 3, winning 6-2, 6-1. With the win, she moves to 14-6 this season, including a 4-1 mark at No. 3 this spring.
These three straight-set wins in singles, combined with the doubles point, clinched the match early for Penn. With the match in hand, Daniela DePaoli added another win to the Quakers' total with her victory at No. 4. Playing just in singles competition today, DePaoli got off to a quick start with a 6-3 win in the first set. Her opponent would come back with a 6-4 win in the second, forcing the decisive third set. With the match on the line, DePaoli then took her second 6-3 set, claiming her eighth win of the year and improving to 3-2 overall at No. 4.
After a tough first set, Raghavan came back to take the second set in a tiebreak at No. 5, 7-6 (7-4), forcing another three-set match. However, she was unable to keep the momentum that came from the second set win and fell in the third set. Whitfield also dropped her first set, falling by a tight 7-5 score; however, she responded in the second with a 6-3 set win. The No. 6 match would complete eight games in the decisive set before weather forced the match to go unfinished.
Back on the winning track, women's tennis will be back in action tomorrow against Florida International at 1 p.m. That match will complete the team's abbreviated playing schedule in Florida.
Penn 5, Florida Gulf Coast 1
1: Sol Eskenazi (P) def. Sarah Means (FGC), 6-1, 6-2
2: Stephanie Do (P) def. Jen Evans (FGC), 6-4, 6-4
3: Alex Ion (P) def. Marina Diez (FGC), 6-2, 6-1
4: Daniela DePaoli (P) def. Morgan Bechtel (FGC), 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
5: Bettina Botha (FGC) def. Srinidhi Raghavan (P), 6-0, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1
6: Gyanna Mandic (FGC) vs. Emma Whitfield (P), 7-5, 3-6, 3-5, unfinished
1: Jules Rodin/Sol Eskenazi (P) def. Morgan Bechtel/Marina Diez (FGC), 8-5
2: Gyanna Mandic/Jen Evans (FGC) def. Alex Ion/Srinidhi Raghavan (P), 8-0
3: Stephanie Do/Emma Whitfield (P) def. Sarah Means/Bettina Botha (FGC), 8-3