Despite finding itself in the midst of a four-game losing streak going into this weekend’s matches against Brown and Yale, the Penn men’s squash team still sees signs of progress to hang its hat on.
“I’m not here to pretend that everything is going perfectly,” coach Jack Wyant said. “But I will say that if you get into the details and compare our results this year to last year, we are making progress.”
Senior captain Thomas Mattsson agrees.
“We’ve been putting opponents under more pressure than we have the past couple of years, increasing the pressure in points,” Mattsson said. “We’ve been playing the game faster, going short more often, taking more risks.”
The Quakers (3-5, 0-3 Ivy) most recently fell to powerhouse Trinity in Hartford, Conn. The Bantams beat Penn just 11 days after their first loss since 1998, a 5-4 decision to Yale. As a result, Wyant expects the Bulldogs (11-0, 3-0) to be confident heading into Ringe Courts on Sunday.
“I’d love for them to be overconfident,” Wyant said. “What they did was great. It was an impressive feat to upend Trinity.”
Similarly, for Penn to pull off an upset against Yale and take care of business against Brown (6-4, 0-3), the bottom of the lineup must continue its dominance. The No. 6 through No. 9 spots went 7-1 in the two games prior to the Trinity loss, with the Quakers picking up just one win outside of the bottom four spots in those matches.
“I’d say that we’re a deep team in the sense that our skill level doesn’t really taper off much near the bottom of the lineup,” said sophomore Derek Chilvers, who typically fills the No. 6 spot. “When we go up against tougher schools such as Dartmouth, it will be extremely competitive at the top of the ladder. So if some of the matches don’t go our way, it really comes down to how the bottom of the ladder can pull it out.”
And while Wyant remains confident that the men’s program is on an upswing in his second year as the men’s coach, the team has yet to pull off an upset. If Wyant is to have as much success with the men as he has had with the women’s program, his men can’t be underdogs at every match.
“We are a tougher team than we were last year and I’m very pleased with how the men are progressing,” Wyant noted. “But I’ll only accept progress and these moral victories [for] so long.”