He might be a rookie, but he's not acting like it.
In large part due to freshman phenom Andrew Douglas, Penn men's squash is off to its best start since 1985. Douglas, who has played at the No. 1 spot all season, has come in and made an instant impact. In fact, the Quakers (8-2, 2-0 Ivy) are currently ranked No. 5 in the nation.
“The five seniors have made a large impact on the program,” men’s coach Gilly Lane said on the team's improvement. “But to add someone like Andrew, combined with those five, we knew he would make an immediate impact on our team.”
Douglas, 9-1 in his individual matches, has been the answer the Quakers have needed at the top spot, leading his team by example on the court.
“Historically, Penn has been very deep,” Douglas said. “But we’ve struggled at the top. We now have me and Hayes [Murphy] and it really helps because we’ve always had that depth at the bottom.”
Douglas’ squash career started when his father, a former squash player, introduced him to the sport at the young age of six.
Ultimately, Douglas did not take squash seriously until freshman year of high school. This lifestyle decision placed him on the path to be a Quaker.
“I felt best with the squash team [at Penn],” Douglas said. “I felt most comfortable here and thought I could be my best.”
Currently ranked No. 161 in the world, Douglas is one the best recruits in recent memory.
“Andrew had a great junior career,” Lane said. “So when he committed to Penn, we knew he would make an immediate impact.”
In his first season, the Quakers are already off to an incredible start. Last season at this point, the Red and Blue were 5-5, a full three matches back to this season’s pace thus far.
“He has the opportunity to be the best American player ever,” Lane said.
His play has not just been great, but it has been heroic as well.
On Jan. 10, Penn and No. 6 Rochester were tied at four games apiece going into the final match. It was only fitting what would happen next.
Douglas got the opportunity to win the match for his team.
He went down two games early on, but made a miraculous comeback. Douglas won his next three games, fighting off three match points in the final one, and taking match for the Red and Blue in a heroic fashion.
Stories like these leave a legacy that will give Douglas the chance to go down as one of the greatest Penn squash players in men’s history. As for now, Douglas is still looking to improve as a team and individually.
“We have the potential to be a top-two team in the country,” Douglas said. “Individually, there’s no ceilings for my own goals. I’m just a freshman, so I have four years to get better.”
Douglas and the Quakers will look to continue a great start to the season in their next contest at home against No. 8 Princeton on Jan. 30.
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