This weekend in Princeton, N.J., the No. 9 Penn men’s squash team hopes to defend its top seed in the B Division of the College Squash Association team championships and take home the Hoehn Cup.
Despite just missing out on playing in the A Division tournament, the Quakers (5-7, 2-5 Ivy) will be the favorites entering the tournament that consists of the ninth to 16th nationally ranked teams.
“We’d much prefer to be in the top draw,” coach Jack Wyant said. “But we’re looking forward to the opportunity to play three matches, and our goal is to finish the season on a high note.”
Senior captains Thomas Mattsson and Trevor McGuinness will lead the Red and Blue, who will attempt to capture the program’s first title since Wyant took charge of the squad last year.
“It’s a big deal to us, especially us seniors,” Mattson said. “We want to get out on top.”
The two know very well that they will face a lot of pressure this weekend. Mattsson will play at the No. 1 spot — which has been his exclusive spot the past two years —and McGuinness will play in the No. 4 slot.
“We’re the Roman Empire, everyone’s going after us,” Mattsson joked. “We’ve got to repel the attack.”
Penn will first face No. 16 Bates College, a team it beat, 7-2, in the opening round of last year’s Hoehn Cup. If the Quakers win, they would line up against either No. 12 St. Lawrence or No. 13 Middlebury. The Quakers haven’t played either this season.
If the team wins its first two matches, Wyant’s squad will most likely face No. 10 Williams or No. 11 Navy. Both have fallen to Penn this season, 6-3 and 5-4, respectively.
“Williams is a team that has made it known that they want another shot at us,” Wyant said. “We’re not looking past Bates and whoever we’re playing in the second round, but if we happen to make it to Sunday, I think that will be a very exciting match.”
While his players embrace the team motto of ‘We don’t defer,’ they know the games will be decided mentally as much as physically.
“It is all mind games,” McGuinness said. “When you’re not there 100 percent, the tables can turn on you quickly.”
“You’re running around on a white court, travelling, trying to find a little black ball — it gets after you, after a long season,” Mattsson added.
Wyant has focused his efforts this season on “playing fast, decision-making, tactics and fitness.” He believes his team is ready to win this weekend, which is why he decided to give his players some time off.
“We’re looking forward to showing that all the hard work this year will pay off.”