Penn men's squash heads to Navy for a battle of unbeaten squads
While Penn has begun the year with two wins, Navy has a whopping nine victories
December 4, 2013, 10:48 pm·
Meredith Stern | DP
With only Navy separating the Quakers from the winter break, No. 13 Penn hopes to build on their winning ways in Annapolis, but Chick-fil-A may be a roadblock on Thursday.
Crowd noise might be a factor at the Halsey Field House, as Navy has a special giveaway planned for their fans.
“One of the boys said he saw on Facebook that they were giving away free Chick-fil-A sandwiches at the match,” coach Jack Wyant said.
After coming out last season alternating wins and losses, Penn men’s squash (2-0) has shown improvement this year by winning its first two matches over quality opponents. With the opportunity to carry a three-game winning streak into the break, the Quakers are looking to replicate their 8-1 thrashing of the Midshipmen (9-0) last year.
“I’d love to see the same score line,” Wyant said. “But they’re a tough team, and they bring their A-game.”
If the Red and Blue can persevere through the raucous crowd, the team’s confidence will be sky-high heading into the winter break.
“Having a win on Thursday would be good momentum heading into break,” senior Derek Chilvers said.
The 15th ranked Midshipmen won’t go down without a fight as they put their undefeated record on the line when they take on Penn. Going up against a Navy team that hasn’t lost since February 23, the Red and Blue will have their work cut out for them if they want to get their first 3-0 start since the 2006-2007 season.
“These kids know how to grind through long matches,” sophomore Tyler Odell added. “And we’ve got to be prepared for that.”
Despite the fact that the only losses for Penn thus far have come at the 1st and 2nd position on the ladder, coach Wyant has kept an optimistic outlook on his team’s readiness for Ivy play.
“The top of our ladder is young,” Wyant added. “My expectation is that they are going to improve throughout the season.”
The rest of the ladder has excelled thus far in the season and has given the Quakers added depth. With the success of the bottom and middle of the ladder, the matches have been wrapped up before the top of the ladder even plays.
Navy has persevered through its fair share of adversity on its current winning streak. With six 9-0 sweeps and two 5-4 victories, the Midshipmen are battle-tested and ready to do whatever is needed to secure a victory.
With one week separating Penn from their previous matchup, the Quakers will have to shake off the rust and overcome the fans — who will be happy thanks to their free Chick-fil-a — to come out with the victory.