PHILADELPHIA – It’s spring time in Philadelphia, at least according to the University of Pennsylvania women’s tennis team schedule it is, as the Quakers face Philadelphia rival Temple inside the Hecht Tennis Center on Friday beginning at4 p.m. The start time is one hour later than previously noted.
Not only debuting a new season, the tennis program will be competing in the recently renovated Hecht Tennis Center – formerly Levy Tennis Pavilion. The updates to the indoor tennis facility include new locker room facilities, coaches’ offices, and spectator viewing area.
The match against the Owls (2-1) is the first of 10 home matches for the Quakers (0-0) this spring that will take place inside the Hecht Center, or outdoors at Hamlin Tennis Center.
Follow the Quaker women’s tennis team all season long on Twitter - @PennWTennis and Facebook.
SCOUTING TEMPLE: The Owls began their 2015 spring season last weekend at the VCU Invite in Richmond, Va. Temple defeated Morgan State and Norfolk State over the weekend after opening with a loss to host VCU. Early on, the Owls have been led by freshman Alina Abdurakhimova and sophomore Dina Karina at the top of their lineup.
THE SERIES WITH TEMPLE: Penn and Temple are meeting for the 34th time, with the Quakers leading the overall series 27-6, and 22-5 at home. The two programs have split the last six matches, 3-3. Last season, Penn defeated Temple 6-1 in March.
PENN’S FALL SEASON: The Penn women competed in four events this fall, including hosting the annual Cissie Leary Invitational at the Hamlin Tennis Center. The Quakers traveled to the William & Mary Invitational, along with the Princeton Invitational, before sending a group of individuals to the ITA Regionals host by Yale. Those players were senior Alexandra Ion, junior Sonya Latycheva, sophomore Kana Daniel, and freshman Lina Qostal.
QUAKER SENIOR – ESKENAZI: Entering her final spring season, Sol Eskenazi has compiled a 69-22 singles record and 65-21 doubles record during her career thus far at Penn. She’s the only player in Penn history to be a three time first-team All-Ivy singles and doubles player, earning the doubles recognition with three different partners (Jules Rodin, Sonya Latycheva, and Kana Daniel). In her freshman season, Eskenazi was also recognized at the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, alongside ITA Northeast Region Rookie of the year
QUAKER SENIOR – ION: Also playing her final spring season, Alexandra Ion has totaled a 43-30 singles record and 33-43 doubles record to this point. Last season, Ion clinched the winning match in a 4-3 victory over No. 57 Penn State, propelling the Quakers to a No. 68 ranking in the ITA poll, the first time the program has been ranked in Coach Kunovac’s tenure. In addition to being a fixture in the Penn lineup, as a freshman, she was recognized as an ITA scholar-athlete.
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: In addition to the seniors, the Penn lineup welcomes back top returners – junior Sonya Latycheva, and sophomores Kana Daniel and Luba Vazhenina. Daniel was recognized as a first-team All-Ivy doubles player a season ago and advanced to the fourth round of singles play in the ITA Regionals this fall.
FRESHMEN WATCH: In their first spring with the Quakers freshmen Nicole Berkman, Lina Qostal, and Ria Vaidya will look to bolster the Penn lineup. Berkman and Qostal saw action this fall for the Red and Blue, while Vaidya will be making her debut for Penn on the courts this spring.