PHILADELPHIA - The Quakers leaned on two of their senior captains for big wins in singles on Wednesday's night en route to a 4-3 win over previously unbeaten Old Dominion.
After sweeping all three doubles matches to jump out to a 1-0 lead, senior tri-captain Julia Koulbitskaya extended that lead for Penn with a quick, 6-1, 6-1 win over Daniela Costa at #2 singles. With the score 3-2 in favor of the Quakers, it was fellow senior captain Yulia Rivelis who clinched the win for the Red and Blue with a victory over Charleen Haaroff in a three-set thriller, 6-1, 6-7(2), 6-3, at #1 singles. The third tri-captain, Michelle Mitchell, rallied from dropping the first set to force a deciding third set before losing thatframe in a tie-breaker,resulting inthe final score, 4-3 in favor of the Quakers.
After the match, Rivelis talked about her match.
"I feel like I had good intensity in the first set, but really let up in the second," she said. "When you are in the third set of a match like this, you need to rally and give it everything you have."
Rivelis, a three-time first-team All-Ivy singles player, felt that the team carried momentum from the doubles sweep into the singles portion of the match.
"It is always important to win the doubles point," she said. "It is even better when you sweep. Everyone feels like they have already contributed and is able to carry that over to the singles matches."
Her philosophy was proven correct early in the singles rounds, as Penn won the first two singles matches to finish when Koulbitskaya and freshman Alexa Ely won straight-sets matches. However, losses by Maria Anisimova and Charlotte Tansill brought the Lady Monarchs back within one point of knotting the match. That is when Rivelis rallied from a tough second-set tie-break loss to win her match and secure Penn's second win of the season.
"The 2-0 start is exactly what we were hoping for," assistant coach Sara Schiffman said after the match. "I think today showed the experience that our team has. We have multiple women who have competed at a high level for four years and are not afraid to be in the match that determines the outcome."
The Quakers are off for ten days until they travel to Richmond, Va. for a match with #34-rankedVirginia Commonwealth. The match with the Rams is the first of twelve straight on the road for the Red and Blue before they take their home courts again on April 11 against Harvard.
#52 Penn def. Old Dominion, 4-3
Doubles, Penn wins 3-0
#1 - Rivelis/Anisimova (Penn) def. Haaroff/Fahoum (ODU), 8-2
#2 - Koulbitskaya/Avedissian (Penn) def. Costa/Dobrowloska (ODU), 8-6
#3 - Mitchell/Tansill (Penn) def. Kubicikova/Citic (ODU), 8-4
#1 - Rivelis (Penn) def. Haaroff (ODU): 6-1, 6-7(2), 6-3
#2 - Koulbitskaya (Penn) def. Costa (ODU): 6-1, 6-1
#3 - Cohen (ODU) def. Ansismova (Penn): 6-1, 4-6, 6-2
#4 - Fahoum (ODU) def. Tansill (Penn): 6-4, 6-2
#5 - Dobrowloska (ODU) def. Mitchell (Penn): 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(3)
#6 - Ely (Penn) def. Kubicikova (ODU): 6-4, 6-0