The Penn men’s squash team narrowly missed qualifying for the A Division national championships, finishing the year ranked ninth in the nation, just outside of the top eight contenders that advance to the Potter Cup.
However, that did not stop the team from showing it belongs with the nation’s best, as the top-seeded Quakers captured the Hoehn Cup to win the B Division championship.
Following wins over Bates College and St. Lawrence, the Red and Blue finished the tournament by defeating Columbia, 8-1, in the title match.
Columbia (7-11) entered the tournament as a No. 6 seed, but the Lions pulled off upsets against No. 3 seed Navy and No. 2 Williams to earn a spot in the final versus the Quakers (8-7).
Suddenly, a program in just its second year of varsity play seemed to have momentum entering the championship match.
Meanwhile, Penn had just escaped a close 5-4 battle with St. Lawrence that included two five-game victories from senior Trevor McGuinness and sophomore John Dudzik.
However, the Quakers stopped the Lions in their tracks, dismantling their opponent with one of their best performances of the year.
“We hadn’t put together a match all season where one to ten … we played our best squash, and today was really that day,” coach Jack Wyant said.
The title marks an improvement from the Quakers’ results at the Hoehn Cup last year, when they lost, 7-2, to Western Ontario in the final. The victory additionally allowed the senior leadership combination of McGuinness and four-year No. 1 Thomas Mattsson to conclude the season on a winning note.
“I was very pleased that they continued to work hard in practice and stay focused, and they obviously earned that improvement this weekend,” Wyant said.
With the victory over Columbia, Penn justified its No. 9 national ranking, which incidentally is the spot in which the team began the season. Although the Red and Blue did not see a net gain in the rankings, the Quakers improved from last year’s 6-9 mark and No. 10 ranking to post an 8-7 record this year — a trend the program will look to continue in years to come.
“[The team has] really built the foundation for what we hope will be sustained, long-term success where we’re competitive with the best teams in the country,” Wyant said.