After more than a month away from match competition, the second half of the squash season began this weekend at Ringe Courts, but the men’s team didn’t get the kind of start that it was hoping for.
On Saturday, the No. 18 Quakers lost to No. 3 Harvard, 9-0, and on Sunday, Penn fell to No. 8 Dartmouth, 8-1.
Penn (3-4, 0-2 Ivy) was simply overwhelmed by its opponents over the weekend, especially at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, where senior Dan Greenberg and junior Derek Chilvers dropped both of their matches on both days.
The four combined players they faced — Harvard’s Ali Faraq and Brandon McLaughlin as well as Dartmouth’s Chris Hanson and Robbie Maycock — have yet to lose to a Penn opponent.
In the first game, the Crimson (8-0, 2-0) thoroughly dominated the Quakers at every position — and for the 34th consecutive year, Penn fell to Harvard. This also marks the second-straight season in which each Penn athlete lost in straight games.
“We put up a good fight,” coach Jack Wyant said. “Harvard is a top team. So talent-wise, there is a disparity, and that showed in the score line. But I think the men gave a big effort.”
Against Dartmouth (4-3, 1-2), the Quakers again got off to a slow start. The team quickly fell in a 3-0 hole after the first shift for the second game in a row.
“That was a hole we couldn’t crawl back from,” Wyant said. “I thought we had chances in two of the three, but those Dartmouth kids were more focused and executed much better then we did [Sunday].”
During the next rotation, as freshman Tyler Odell was down two games, it seemed as if the Quakers might lose another one. But Odell fought back for the victory, clinching the match with a 12-10 win in the final frame.
“[Coach Wyant] told me that I was playing at my opponent’s pace and that I needed to slow it down,” Odell said. “I needed to let him make the mistakes instead of me putting the ball away, and that led to points.”
That match turned out to be Penn’s only individual victory of the weekend. After Chilvers lost in straight games to Maycock, Dartmouth clinched the team win when Liam Quinn gave up a 2-0 lead to opponent Michael Mistras.
The next two games for men’s squash are against Franklin & Marshall and powerhouse Trinity, and the Red and Blue hope to avoid losing a third or even fourth straight match by learning from their mistakes this weekend.
“I think we have a lot of room [for] improvement,” Wyant said. “Tactically, we weren’t our best. There are a lot of things we can do as far as decision making on the court. It’s tough sledding from here on out.”