Penn's number one tennis player. Murray Robinson, couldn't believe--or perhaps didn't want to believe--that the Crimson's Don Pompan had reached the ball before it bounced twice. Robinson knew that with the score at 4-2 in favor of Pompan in a third-set tie-breaker he had lost his grip on a match that he had begun by taking the first set 6-3.
Robinson held on to the tennis balls for several minutes in silent disagreement with the call before giving them back to Pompan. He knew he could only prevent Pompan from winning by refusing to let him finish the match.
Perhaps Robinson's Quaker teammates should have taken a cue from their top player and tried to stop the show from going on at Palmer Dixon yesterday afternoon. For once the balls were out of the can, the match result was never in doubt as the Crimson easily served, volleyed and thundered their way past Penn with a 7-2 match.
Pompan led the way for the Crimson After breaking Pompan's serve in the first game of the first set. Murray pulled ahead 2-0. Murray tried to give the game back to Pompan by volleying into the net three times on his next service, but the Crimson's California kid couldn't take advantage of the Quaker's miscues and dropped behind 3-0.
Hitting excellent passing shots as Pompan came to the net perhaps too often--playing aggressive tennis--Murray converted his lead into a 6-3 victory in the first set.
Then Pompan turned the tide. Staying back at the baseline more often and serving powerfully, Pompan first pulled ahead with a service ace, then broke serve as a Robinson backhand went wide of the left baseline. With Robinson making more frequent errors and Pompan directing the ball repeatedly to the Quaker's limited backhand, the second set went to Pompan 6-1 after another service ace.
The third set went back and forth as Pompan pulled ahead 3-1 and then dropped three straight games. Rapidly, the two team leaders traded games to 6-6 before the critical tie-breaker.
A forehand into Robinson's deep backhand corner, a glorious backhand slice, a Robinson net shot, Pompan's hustling return and a backhand deep to Robinson's backhand forced an error and gave Pompan the set.
The Crimson's four, five and six singles players lent Pompan ample support. Scott Walker polished off Penn number four, Evan Hardie, 6-1, 6-1 in under an hour. Greg Kirsch crushed Doug Krevolin 6-2 in the first set, then, shortly after he noticed the arrival of his father in the stands (the added pressure gave me "a mild heart-attack" he said jokingly later) he dropped four quick games in the second set.
But Firsch regained his concentration. He broke Krevolin's serve, took his own serve despite Krevolin's dubious "out" call on a serve that closely resembled an ace, and proceeded to whip off four more games.
The Crimson's two and three doubles pairs pummelled Penn easily while Pompan and Andy Dhaikovsky won without stepping onto the court as Penn's Robinson saved himself for a match against Dartmouth today.
Today the Crimson takes on Columbia at home. You can bet they'll give the Lions a lot more trouble than the average Christian.
1 SINGLES D. Pompan (H) def. M. Robinson, 3-6, 6-1 m 7-6, (5-2 tie-breaker)
2 SINGLES Steve Berliner (P) def. A. Chaikovsky, 7-6 (5-3 tie-breaker) 7-5
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