Last weekend, the Penn men's and women's squash teams trekked a combined 1,100 miles to square off against Ivy League rivals Yale and Brown. Today, the Red and Blue will host a squad that makes the Quakers' recent road trip seem like a walk around the block. Both the men's and women's squads will welcome the University of Cape Town from South Africa today, a school nearly 8,000 miles away from West Philadelphia. Cape Town is in the midst of a tour of American universities -- a tour which included a recent match with Williams College. But Penn is no stranger to international competition, as the Red and Blue faced off against Oxford University of England last year. Combined, these matches help to illustrate squash's worldwide presence. "Our match against Cape Town shows that squash is receptive to other people, inclusive, and welcoming," Penn women's coach Demer Holleran said. "It's important for the team to realize this in case they travel and want to play around the world. Also, it's nice to feel connected internationally." Men's coach Craig Thorpe-Clark is also excited about the upcoming contest with the South Africans. "It's a great thing for the team to meet players from another country and culture," Thorpe-Clark said. "It's just a great opportunity and experience for everybody. For them, they get to see how seriously American universities are taking squash." After a successful weekend against their Ancient Eight foes, the Quakers can be a little more relaxed competing against a non-conference opponent in Cape Town. The women's team (3-0) knocked off both Yale and Brown in close matches, 5-4. The men's team (1-2) was shut out by the Elis, but pulled out a dramatic 5-4 victory over the Bears. Senior Megan Fuller, who holds the No. 5 position for the women's team, acknowledges the importance of the Red and Blue's upcoming match. But she also feels that the team can approach it differently than an Ivy contest. "We know that the match will reflect on our ability to beat teams, but we can be more relaxed," Fuller said. "It will be nice since most people will be more laid back and play better because our other matches are so intense." Men's co-captain Will Ruthrauff agrees that the Cape Town match will not be as intense as this past weekend's contests. "Some pressure is taken off since it isn't a league match," Ruthrauff said. "It isn't as formal as any other match would be." Still, despite the fact that the Quakers' battle against Cape Town is not an Ivy League matchup, Thorpe-Clark believes that his team should approach the contest like any other. "We're treating this as seriously as any match," Thorpe-Clark said. "Cape Town should be pretty strong and on par with most of the better college teams." The women's team is also viewing today's contest as a tune-up for some tough Ivy matches next semester. "We all have different things to work on and this gives us another chance to work on certain aspects of our game that we need to make better," women's co-captain Rina Borromeo said. Regardless of the outcomes of the matches against Cape Town, both teams look forward to hosting and entertaining their South African guests for two nights. "It will be fun to relate with them on a personal basis," Fuller said. "It's very unique and rare that we have this opportunity."Comments powered by Disqus
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