Despite a disappointing 10th-place finish at the CSA Team Championships last season, the Penn men’s squash team heads has continuity on its side entering this season.
“Last year it was a little bit difficult with [coach] Jack [Wyant] just taking over the role of being the head coach for both the men and women,” men’s captain Trevor McGuinness said of the second-year men’s coach. “He was a little bit overwhelmed with the task. This year he’s doing a much better job, especially with his assistants.”
At the beginning of this season, Wyant added another coach to his staff, Randy Lim, a 2011 graduate of national powerhouse Trinity. However, assistant coach Gilly Lane unexpectedly left the program last week for personal reasons.
Penn will enjoy constancy on the court as well, returning seven letter-winners from last year. McGuinness hopes to pick up where he left off last season after winning eight of his last 10 matches. Fellow captain Thomas Mattsson also returns, expected to start at the No. 1 position for the fourth consecutive season.
“If there’s one area between this year and last year that we’re trying to improve, it would probably be increasing our fitness and being able to compete with the top teams in the country in that area,” Mattsson said.
The Quakers faltered in several four and five-game matches last year, resulting in frustratingly close losses to Ivy foes like Cornell and Dartmouth. Failing to seal the deal was a hallmark of last season’s squad, and it haunted the Red and Blue again at the Ivy Scrimmages earlier this month when they again fell to the Big Green.
“We ended up where we were supposed to, but the Dartmouth score wasn’t indicative of how close the match actually was,” McGuinness explained. “It was a 9-0 loss which looks pretty damning but it was really a lot closer. A lot of the matches were four or five games, and everybody played a lot better than they had in past years.”
Penn’s goal is to better its No. 9 ranking and crash the top division at the CSA Team Championships. The Quakers will go as far toward this goal as Mattsson and McGuinness will take them.
“[We want to] set a good example for the lower guys on the team and [try] to work our best to achieve the best possible things we can our final year,” McGuinness said.
The two captains captured the doubles title at the 2011 Intercollegiate Doubles Championships at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia last month, proving that they work well together after having won the same title together as freshmen.“I think the fact that we communicate well with each other speaks to some of the success and the support of our coaches,” McGuinness said.
“Trevor’s obviously the most skilled on the doubles team,” Mattsson admitted. “His game is better situated for doubles. I’m probably better for a singles game so we work well together and use our respective talents to be a successful team.”
It’s this complementary consistency that Mattsson and McGuinness hope will make their final season together at Penn a successful one. Starting Wednesday night at Ringe Courts against Drexel, they will be the continuity that their rising team needs.