The Penn men's squash team had two weeks following its season-opening 8-1 loss to Cornell to prepare for a fresh start to the season. The Quakers did just that this past weekend as they were able to pick up first Ivy League victory of the season. On Sunday, following a 9-0 loss to Yale just a day earlier, the Red and Blue squeaked past Brown, 5-4. The Quakers' come-from-behind win over the Bears was clinched in the final match by junior John Griffin. He took the last two points in a final game tiebreaker to claim a 3-2 victory that sent the Quakers home satisfied. "The whole match took nearly three hours, and it was a really excellent win for the team," Penn coach Craig Thorpe-Clark said. "It was a reward for the hard work they've been doing." Penn started off the weekend in New Haven, Conn., where they faced a Yale team that finished third in the Ivies last season and should challenge for a top three spot again this year. The Elis plowed through the Penn lineup, shutting out the Quakers in every match. Yale was paced by its top players, junior Peter Grote and senior Blake Gilpin, who downed Penn co-captain Peter Withstandley and sophomore Sam Miller. Miller, who faced Gilpin at the No. 2 spot after playing No. 3 against Cornell, was impressed by the talent level of the players he faced over the weekend. "I played well, but at the number 2 position, I was facing some excellent competition," Miller said. "So, I went 0-2 losing in three in both matches. But, it was a good learning experience and by playing such great players, my own skills are improving dramatically." While the Quakers struggled against the talented Yale squad, the team found more success a day later in Providence. Brown, which handed the Quakers a loss in the opening round of the NISRA team tournament last season -- was edged by Griffin and the Red and Blue's crop of freshmen. Griffin's match against Brown senior James Rich at the No. 3 position wrapped up a win that was made possible by the freshmen playing lower in the order. Freshmen Jason Lam, Matt Vergare, Daniel Rottenberg and Charlie Fuller each picked up their first individual victories at the collegiate level on the way to their first team victory. "The freshmen were key to yesterday's victory over Brown -- all of them stepped up big time," Griffin said. "They made up for a lack of experience by playing with heart and guts. I was extremely impressed with their effort and desire to win." The Penn coach was also pleased with the performance of his newcomers. "Jason Lam was struggling to begin his match, but he didn't taper off," Thorpe-Clark said. "He got better as the match went on." Vergare, who played at No. 7 over the weekend, came away from the match with a positive outlook for the Quakers' season. "We knew that it would be a close match and a lot of our players went to five games," Vergare said. "The team is really settling in. These were the first wins for all of the freshmen, so hopefully this will carry over to next semester" The Quakers will have one more match before winter break when they host Cape Town on Thursday at Ringe Courts.Comments powered by Disqus
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