As Penn men’s squash prepares for its first home match of the season, it will look to build upon its hot start.
The No. 9 Quakers will take on No. 16 Navy on Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. at the Ringe Squash Courts and hope to improve to 4-0 to begin the year.
Penn looked dominant in its first weekend of squash when it traveled to Maine for a three-game road trip. The men defeated dropped a solid Bates team 7-2 before beating both Colby and Bowdoin in dominant 9-0 fashion.
However, the Red and Blue face a strong challenge on Wednesday as Navy has also gotten off to a hot start this season and proven they can play with top-ten teams.
The Midshipmen also stand undefeated currently boasting a 12-0 record, with their most note-worthy coming against Penn’s Ivy League rival Princeton.
Navy won each of their first 11 matches while holding the opponent scoreless, topping all 9-0. Last Tuesday was the Midshipmen’s first real test as they faced the No. 10 Tigers and battled to come away with the 5-4 victory, their first win over a top-ten team since February of 2012.
Navy will likely take this confidence and momentum into their match in Ringe Courts this Wednesday. They are led by senior Andrew McGuinness in the No. 1 position and senior Jim Kacergis in the No. 3 position.
A key to Penn’s success thus far and certainly one for Wednesday’s matchup is the play from the freshman in the Quakers’ ladder. In the season opening weekend in Maine, the Red and Blue featured five freshman in the top six spots in the ladder; Marwan Mahmoud, Derek Hsue, Hayes Murphy, Anders Larson and James Watson.
Mahmoud went 2-1 in the No. 1 position, while Hsue (No. 2), Murphy (No. 3), Larson (No. 4 and 5) and Watson (No. 5 and 6) all went 3-0. The “freshman five” will look to continue their early success on their way to helping their team earn a crucial win against Navy on Wednesday.
In terms of past performance between the two teams set to face off, Penn leads the overall series with the Midshipmen, 44-26, and has won the last 14 straight meetings, including a 6-3 victory at Navy a year ago.
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