Sunday afternoon proved to be heartbreaking at Ringe Courts for Penn men’s squash.
During a match in which four positions in the ladder were forced to five games, only one of them went Penn’s way. At one point, the Red and Blue were up 4-1 in the match. However, the Diplomats would go on to win the next four matches to edge the Quakers 5-4.
Riding a four-game winning streak heading into Sunday’s match, Penn (4-1) was set to face a Franklin & Marshall team that was ranked No. 7 before the season began but had since fallen to No. 12 after losses to Princeton, Columbia and Yale.
Meanwhile, the Quakers began the season ranked No. 9 but entered the match at No. 8 thanks to a hot start to the season.
Nonetheless, it would be the Diplomats (5-3) that ended Sunday with the upper hand.
“This stings for all of us: individually and as a team,” junior Augie Frank said. “Whether any of us individually won or lost, it all stings equally. But it’s just got to be motivation.”
Frank proved to be one of the bright spots for the Quakers on Sunday. Playing in the eighth position on the ladder, he battled back from a 2-0 deficit while on his way to a 3-2 individual match victory.
“The coaches were reminding me in between games how hard we’ve been working this entire season with morning practices and fitness,” he said, “and I knew that if I could push him to a fourth, I could push him to a fifth and I could take him.”
Other positives for the Red and Blue included wins for freshmen Anders Larson and James Watson in the fourth and sixth spots respectively and a 3-0 victory for junior Liam Quinn in the fifth spot.
“Going forward, how we deal with this loss is really what’s going to define our season,” Frank said. “The loss itself — we use it as motivation and then throw it away. It will sting every day of practice, but it means nothing to how good we are and how talented we are.”
Coach Jack Wyant’s speech in the post-game team meeting was simple.
“I told them that Franklin and Marshall did a better job of taking their chances today meaning they played the big points, the most important points, the ones at the end of the game, better than we did,” he said.
Despite incurring their first lost of the season, Wyant says that he doesn’t plan on changing much for the team in terms of preparation or strategy.
“We’ll probably do a little more fitness, but other than that, we’re happy with the team. We’re happy with the progress they’re making,” he said. “You just got to give credit to Franklin & Marshall - they were the tougher team today and they snuck a win.”
Sunday’s match against F&M finishes competitive play for the Quakers until next semester. They will pick back up beginning with Ivy rival Dartmouth at home on Jan. 10.
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