Penn women’s squash coach Jack Wyant expected good things from senior co-captain All American Kristen Lange and the rest of his veterans. But he got a pleasant surprise this weekend thanks to a pair of rookies.
In her first collegiate game, freshman Rachel Goh completed a three-game sweep at No. 4 of Cornell senior captain Loza Stokes. In the second game, Stokes had no answers for the dominant Goh, who emerged with an 11–0 victory.
Teammate and classmate Yarden Odinak, playing at No. 5 for the Quakers, defeated Big Red senior — and 2008-09 team MVP — Rebecca Hazell, 3-1.
Overall, Penn defeated an improving Cornell squad 7–2 Saturday afternoon in Ithaca, N.Y., before a hostile crowd.
“Rachel is immensely talented,” Wyant said. “When she is playing at the peak of her ability, she is going to be very difficult for anybody to beat.
“The score just shows how great of a player she is and how when she puts it all together, she is going to be very difficult to beat,” Wyant said.
Goh’s and Odinak’s play highlighted the overall potential of the Quakers’ freshman class.
“I was really pleased with how they performed in such an energetic environment,” Wyant said. “All of them have had a great fall and I think [Saturday] showed Penn is very lucky to have these girls for the next three and a half years.”
The Quakers (1-0, 1-0 Ivy) got out to an early 1–0 lead against the Big Red (0-1, 0-1) when Lange fought through early trouble in the No. 1 spot before sweeping Jenn Gemmell.
“There were moments where she played brilliantly, and there were moments where she wasn’t fully in control,” Wyant said.
“But she is still improving. She has always been a brilliant shot maker, and now she is doing a better job of shooting at the right times and limiting the counterattacks against her. To be as good as she is and to be improving is hard to do.”
The Quakers were not as fortunate in their next two spots as freshman No. 2 Nabilla Ariffin was defeated in a tight five-game match while senior co-captain Sydney Scott fell, 3-0, to Cornell’s Shivangi Paranjpe in the No. 3.
But Penn was dominant towards the bottom of the ladder as Goh and company shut out five of the remaining six matches.
On a day in which both freshmen and upperclassmen emerged with hard-fought victories, Wyant is confident in what the future holds for the Red and Blue this season.
“What this weekend shows is that when even we are not clicking on all cylinders, we are still very tough to beat,” Wyant said. “We are a really talented team. We didn’t quite bring our A game, but we still emerged with a comfortable win.”
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