PHILADELPHIA - After going up against five nationally-ranked schools to open up the Ivy portion of the season, women's tennis will have two more chances to break through with an Ivy League victory this weekend. The Quakers will head up to Ithaca this Friday for a 3 p.m. match with Cornell. Penn will then return home on Sunday for the regular season finale with Columbia at noon.
Cornell and Columbia have also fallen victim to an extremely competitive Ivy League. The Big Red currently own one win in the Ivy League, which came by a 4-3 margin over Columbia last weekend. In the fall, Penn went 4-1 against the Big Red in singles play, while Connie Hsu and Ely picked up a pair of wins in doubles for Penn.
After the trip to Cornell on Friday, Penn will return home for senior day on Sunday at noon against Columbia. Despite not being able to come up with a victory yet in the Ivies, Columbia has four players that enter the weekend with winning records in the spring. Nicole Bartnick is 10-5 playing exclusively at number one, while Katarina Kovacevic (9-6), Ioana Alecsiu (8-5), and Tiana Takenaga (8-5) all enter the match with winning records. In doubles, the Lions are a combined 25-22 at the three doubles positions in the spring. Penn went a combined 8-3 in singles and 5-2 in doubles against Columbia opponents during the fall season.
Penn also competed in the Columbia Invitational this fall with several players experiencing success. Daniela DePaoli advanced to the Columbia Invitational finals in her draw, while Alexa Ely and Emma Whitfield both advanced to the semi-finals in their singles draw. Jaime Yapp-Shing and Stephanie Do also picked up singles victories at the invitational tournament. In doubles, Ely and Yapp-Shing teamed up to win the doubles championship.
The match on Sunday will also mark the final home match in the careers of Penn seniors Ely and Rose Schlecker. Ely has been a four-year player for the Quakers and served as team captain for the current squad, while amassing 35 during her Penn Career. She has also excelled in doubles play during her time at Penn, winning 49 matches with various partners throughout her four years. She and Hsu have also teamed up to win Penn's Cissie Leary Invitational in the fall and have a perfect 5-0 record in the Ivy League Doubles matches so far.
Schlecker walked on to the team during last season after serving as the Club Tennis Team's president as a sophomore. Last year, she picked up a straight set win at number six against Saint Joseph's and was also a perfect 3-0 in doubles play. This season, Schlecker continued to have success with Saint Joseph's, advancing all the way to the finals of the Saint Joseph's Invitational. She also teamed up with Whitfield for a victory at number three doubles in the dual match against the Hawks.
Several Penn players have an opportunity to join Hsu (41), Yapp-Shing (13), and Whitfield (11) with double digit victories in singles play with wins this weekend. Ely and Lauren Bridges enter the final weekend with nine victories, while Stephanie Do and DePaoli each have eight wins this season.
In doubles, Hsu and Ely can reach 15 doubles victories this season as a pairing with two victories this weekend. Jules Rodin and Yapp-Shing have three victories together at number two, and Do and Whitfield have four doubles victories between numbers two and three. Penn is currently 53-33 in doubles matches for the season.