Penn men's squash easily tops Navy, keeps up sizzling start
Quakers dominate the bottom of the ladder, are now off to their best start since the 2006-07 season
December 5, 2013, 11:05 pm·
Luke Chen | DP
Penn men’s squash faced the daunting task Thursday of trying to defeat a team that hasn’t lost since Feb. 23.
And yet, persevering through crowd noise and an unlikely opponent in Chick-fil-A, No. 13 Penn still secured its first 3-0 start since the 2006-07 season at No. 14 Navy. The Quakers have a healthy dose of poise to thank for their 6-3 victory over Navy (9-1).
“The boys kept their composure,” coach Jack Wyant said. “It was a pretty hostile crowd.”
Indeed, attracted by the promise of free Chick-fil-A, noisy Navy fans packed the stands trying to give the Midshipmen a homecourt advantage. Wyant acknowledged the difficulty of winning in an environment as aggressive in Annapolis.
“It’s tough to go on the road and win,” he said. “They’re learning how to win ugly.”
With the beginning of Ivy play on the horizon next month, the ability for a team to win even when it isn’t on top of its game is a crucial one. For the Quakers, that ability stems from a strong bottom and middle of their ladder.
Penn picked up wins at every position but one outside the top three slots. The top of the ladder continued to struggle, though, dropping matches at both the No. 1 and 2 positions. With only a freshman and two sophomores in the top three, Wyant isn’t pressing the top of that ladder more than he needs to.
“I think the lineup is fine,” Wyant said. “I don’t worry too much about it.”
Junior captain Jack Maine, sophomore Augie Frank, junior Michael Mutscheller and freshman George Lemmon all improved their individual records to 3-0.
Senior captain John Dudzik’s sweep of Navy freshman Randy Beck clinched the victory for the Quakers, much to the displeasure of the Annapolis crowd.
With Navy’s quest for perfection ruined, Penn has proven it’s ready for any challenge it comes across — even when that challenge is Chick-fil-A.
“I’m optimistic about our chances when we get back from break,” Wyant said.
Penn’s next match will be Sat., Jan. 11 at Dartmouth at 1 p.m., followed by a match at Harvard the following day at noon. The Quakers won’t enjoy another home match until Jan. 22, when they take on Drexel at Ringe Courts.
With just winter break separating Penn from its Ivy opener at Dartmouth, the Red and Blue know they can’t ease up. Heading off to San Diego just three days after Christmas, the Quakers will go on their first training trip in Wyant’s four seasons as the program’s coach.
“It forces us to not be lazy over break,” senior Derek Chilvers said.