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Despite having no effect on the Penn women's squash team's overall record, the Constable Invitational could prove to be a powerful indicator of things to come. And if that's true, Penn has an exciting season ahead, as the Quakers turned in a solid weekend of play. The invitational is an individual tournament hosted annually by Princeton. The tourney provides the top intercollegiate squash players in the country a chance to compete against opponents whom they may not face otherwise in team play due to each athlete's position within their team's ladder. Despite having no team pressure to win, the Quakers were still hoping to turn in a collectively solid performance to bounce back from a tough loss to Trinity on January 14 and prepare for their upcoming match against the Tigers on Thursday. "Everyone put out a really good effort," senior Megan Fuller said. "In individual matches, the pressure is on yourself and not for the team. But even without the team mentality, we had a great weekend." Fuller earned a second-place finish -- the highest on the team within her division -- by turning in four phenomenal performances. She defeated opponents from Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Trinity. "We were all marvelling that this was the same Megan Fuller that we've seen play the past three-and-a-half years," Penn coach Demer Holleran said. "She was running incredibly hard, she got to balls that no one could get to and she had the smartest shot selection I've seen her play with." All of Fuller's opponents were positioned at either the No. 3 or 5 positions, whereas Fuller plays at No. 6 for Penn. And since two of her opponents were from Harvard and Princeton, two consistently top-ranked teams whom the Quakers will each face within the next two weeks, the possible implications not only for Fuller, but for the team as well, may be be huge. "As a second-semester senior, I'm realizing this is it and I want to walk away knowing I played my last year with 100 percent effort," Fuller said. "It was definitely good because now I'm more confident going into matches coming up in the next couple weeks." Penn's No. 1 player, sophomore Runa Reta, also had a successful weekend. She defeated two of the top intercollegiate squash players in the nation -- Trinity's Janine Thompson and Cornell's Olga Puigdemont. "This was a big weekend for her," Holleran said. "She beat two players ranked above her, so confidence-wise, those were big wins. Hopefully she'll rise in the rankings which will help her later in the season, but she's also earned more respect from her future opponents." Senior Helen Bamber also had a solid weekend in only her second competition since returning to Penn after studying abroad. Bamber defeated Trinity's Pam Saunders --who, like Bamber, is from Zimbabwe. "[Bamber] was incredibly determined to win because they have a long competitive history, and her victory is a testament to her determination," Holleran said. "She really played her best squash." The veterans were not the only Quakers to see competition. In all, 11 Quakers traveled to Princeton to play in the tournament. For Penn's newcomers, the invitational provided a unique opportunity to gain experience without the added pressure of playing for a team victory. "As freshmen, we're new to intercollegiate competition and pressures," Penn frosh Katie Fetter said. "Any match experience we got from the tournament can only help us during our upcoming matches against Princeton and Harvard because intercollegiate play is so different from high school squash." The invitational also provided Penn the opportunity to scout the Princeton courts before Thursday's match, which will be one of the toughest of the season for the Quakers. With a successful weekend under their belts, the Red and Blue are looking forward to utilizing their match experience to add two victories to their column and work their way toward another championship. "This was a good opportunity for people to get match tough," Holleran said. "We've had a lot of hard training, but no bulk match play. Playing will help get us into peak match form which will hopefully result in team wins."

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