Men’s tennis (15–8 overall, 0–1 Ivy) was defeated 6–1 by the University of Pennsylvania (12–9 overall) on Saturday in Philadelphia. After losing to Penn State (11–9 overall) on March 17 and subsequently winning two out of three matches on its spring break trip to Florida, the Tigers fell short in their first Ivy League matchup of the season.
Penn won two out of three doubles matches, earning the Quakers the first point. Princeton senior captain Luke Gamble and freshman Damian Rodriguez lost their game 4–6.
Gamble is a former opinion columnist for The Daily Princetonian.
Princeton’s second loss came from senior Diego Vives and junior Jimmy Wasserman’s defeat, 4–6. Sophomore Payton Holden and freshman Ryan Seggerman won their doubles match against Penn’s Josh Pompan and Nicholai Westergaard, 6–4.
After a disappointing performance in doubles, Princeton started off with a loss and a win in the singles series. Rodriguez lost both of his sets 3–6 against Penn’s Max Cancilla. Holden won his first set 6–2 and finished strong with a 6–3 victory in the second to earn the sole point and singles victory for the Tigers.
Princeton lost the remaining three singles matches, allowing the Quakers to rack up their point total to six. Senior Kial Kaiser fell 6–7 and 3–6, and Seggerman lost his games 6–2 and 6–3.
Gamble won his first game 7–5 over Penn’s Dmitry Shatalin, but he lost his next one 4–6 and the tiebreaker 6–3.
After losing his first match 3-6, sophomore Davey Roberts rallied to win his second game against Penn’s Nicholai Westergaard, but was narrowly defeated in a tiebreaking game, 6-7.
“Saturday was tough. It [was] one of the matches that we really wanted to win and believed we were going to win,” said Roberts. “I think we’re all bit disappointed.”
Roberts attributed last weekend’s defeat to Penn’s excellent playing and a series of mishaps by Princeton. “We let a couple doubles matches slip away and then Penn kept their foot on the gas in singles.”
Despite Saturday’s loss, Princeton still holds a whopping 94-15-1 all time against Penn. Last year the Tigers defeated the Quakers 4-3 at home, on Senior Day.
This weekend Princeton will face off against Cornell University and Columbia University.
The Tigers host the Big Red at Lenz Tennis Center on Friday, hoping for a reversal of last year’s regular season match that resulted in a 1-4 defeat for Princeton. While a win against Cornell in the preseason bodes well for Princeton, the Tigers are expecting a hotly contested match.
“We know they’re gonna come for us,” warned Roberts.
The team will then travel to New York City on Sunday to face the Lions, who defeated the Tigers last year 4-0. Roberts acknowledged that Columbia won’t be easy to take down. “They are always a very tough opponent,” he said.
With a tough road ahead, the Tigers are focusing on the end game.
The NCAA tournament, according to Roberts, is “still a possibility” and the main goal of the team. He added, “We are just gonna put this past weekend behind us and try to focus [on] ending on a strong note.”