ORLANDO, Fla., March 3, 2013 - The James Madison women's tennis team fell 5-2 to Penn Sunday afternoon in the Dukes' opening match of their trip to Florida. Points for JMU came from freshman Cara Wirth (Reading, Pa./Wilson) and senior Katherine Bulling (Loveland, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy).
The Dukes dropped to 2-4 on the spring dual season, and the Quakers improved to 5-2 overall.
Penn won the doubles point 2-1 with two 8-3 victories. Sophomore Taylor Pinchoff (Sylvan Lake, Mich./West Bloomfield) and senior Michelle Nguyen (Springfield, Va./South County) fell to Sol Eskenazi and Sonya Latycheva at the No. 1 slot before Bulling and Wirth fell to Jules Rodin and Jaime Yapp-Shing at the No. 2 position.
Juniors Jacqueline Palmucci (Aurora, Colo./Cherokee Trail) and Ruxandra Andriescu (Brampton, Ontario, Canada/Turner Fenton) turned the momentum in the Dukes' favor with an 8-5 win over Stephanie Do and Alex Ion at the No. 3 position to close out doubles play. The duo is now 2-0 when playing together this spring.
Wirth used the momentum to take down Emma Whitfield 6-1, 6-1 at the No. 6 position and knot the match at 1-all. In her first spring collegiate season, Wirth is 4-0 in single duals and has won her last seven singles matches dating back to fall tournaments.
JMU, however, was unable to capitalize on the shift and fell to Penn in three straight single duals to put the match out of reach. The Dukes continued to fight, though, as Bulling defeated Ion 2-6, 6-2, 11-9 at the No. 4 position for her fourth singles victory this spring.
In the final match of the day, Palmucci lost in three sets to Do at the No. 2 slot. The junior battled back to a 6-4 win in set two following a 6-2 loss in set one before dropping set three 10-7.
The Dukes will return to the courts of Orlando on Monday, March 4, when they take on Ball State at 11 a.m.