tylerodell

Senior captain Tyler Odell will look to lead the Quakers to victory in the Beltway this weekend when they take on George Washington and Navy. 

Photo: Hunter Martin / The Daily Pennsylvanian

George Washington may have beaten the British, but he certainly won’t be beating the Quakers anytime soon. At least, that’s what Penn squash is hoping.

After an intense preseason that featured new supplemental weight training, the Red and Blue’s squash teams are looking to get off to a strong start to their seasons this weekend. Both squads will travel down to Washington, D.C., to face George Washington on Saturday, with the men’s team getting in a match against Navy on Friday in Annapolis, Md., as well.

Both teams will be looking to add to their recent string of dominance against their two upcoming opponents. Both the men and women have won two straight against the Colonials, while the men’s team will also seek to extend its 14-year win streak against Navy.

“This weekend sets the tone for rest of the year, and it’s an opportunity for us to show how hard we worked in the preseason,” coach Jack Wyant said. “We can show how we’re prepared for every team that we’re going to go up against.”

Heading into this weekend, both sides should feel confident after performing well at last week’s Ivy Scrimmage. Penn’s women captured first place with a 7-2 win over Harvard, while the men clinched third with a 5-4 victory against Columbia.

“We had a busy weekend ... at the Ivy Scrimmage, but we’re going to work hard this week to make sure we’re as ready as we can be,” Wyant said.

“It will be really important to set the season off on the right note [this weekend],” men’s senior captain Tyler Odell said. “We want to get in there and show teams that we really can play — and to show how far we’ve come even from last year.”

The Red and Blue’s contests against the Midshipmen and Colonials could possibly introduce a few new faces to the collegiate squash circuit, as some of Penn’s freshmen may make their debut depending on lineup decisions. And what a debut it would be for the freshmen against these foes.

“It’s always tough going to Navy away,” Odell said. “They always bring a big crowd, and it’s always pretty rowdy, so it will be a good experience for a lot of our freshmen to compete in a high stress environment for their first match to gain some experience.

“College squash is a lot different than junior squash,” he added. “We don’t have one weekend where we play two or three matches and then take five days off. Here, it’s an intense schedule with the practices and morning lifts that we have, so the season is tough, it’s full of injuries and adversity. We’ve just been telling our guys to keep their heads up, stay positive and take care of their bodies.”

While this weekend is just one stop on a season-long journey to the Potter Cup for Penn squash, one thing is clear for both teams: It is key to start the year by coming away from the capital with wins.

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