Before this weekend, the Penn men's squash team had a chance to crack the top 10 in the NISRA rankings. Those hopes were dashed, however, when the Quakers (8-6) lost both of their Ivy League matches this weekend, dropping their Ancient Eight record to a disappointing 1-5 in the process. Harvard (8-1, 4-0 Ivy League) put on a clinic at the Ringe Courts Saturday, as they shut out the Quakers, 9-0. The second-ranked Crimson made quick work of most of the Penn lineup. In the match that was easily the gem of the day, Penn co-captain and No. 1 player Peter Withstandley played point for point with Harvard's senior co-captain Deepak Abraham, a 2000 second team All-American. After losing the first game, 13-6, Withstandley played two stellar games. He led each match, 11-9, before falling 15-12 and 15-14. The match had many long points, including one counted at 73 shots. "Peter's match isn't about who will hit the winning shot," Penn co-captain Will Ruthrauff said during a long point in Withstandley's match. "It's about who will make the first mistake. Both guys are playing incredible squash." After wrapping up the match, Harvard's players were looking forward to fulfilling their lofty goals for the season. "This is good preparation for our big Ivy League matches against Princeton and Yale," said Harvard's James Bullock, a freshman from Jamaica. "In the playoffs we're going out to win the title. If we play our best, there's no reason we can't." Sunday's match proved no better for the Quakers, as they were toppled by Dartmouth, 7-2. The loss was particularly frustrating for the Red and Blue because three of their losses came in five games after the Quakers held leads in each. Had the three matches gone in the opposite direction, Penn would have walked away with a victory. "We put up a good fight," Penn coach Craig Thorpe-Clark said. "Dartmouth has been tough. There were some very closely contested matches today, but we just haven't had the luck of the draw." Penn freshman Jason Lam led his match 2-0 before Big Green junior Scott Judah mounted a comeback that involved several close and questionable calls. Similarly, Penn junior John Griffin's match against freshman Jesse Nisselson went to a fifth game that went Dartmouth's way. Especially heartbreaking was the match at No. 8 between Penn freshman Matt Vergare and Dartmouth junior Brad Doline. Vergare took the first two games before dropping the following three. Vergare's match went all the way to a 15-15 tie-break situation before ending in a 17-15 win for Doline. The Quakers' only victories came from Withstandley and sophomore Elan Levy at No. 7. Levy also had his match go to five games. He was able to close the deal with a 3-2 win over freshman Philippe deRichemont. The victory completed a strong late-season surge by Levy that has left him tied for second on the team with seven victories. Withstandley finished the season as the team's wins leader. He managed a 10-4 record this season against some of the country's very best players. He looked particularly impressive yesterday in his win over Dartmouth junior Hamed Anvari. Showing no ill effects from his intense match against Abraham, Withstandley easily handled his opponent for a 3-1 victory. "I had a lot of family and friends out for my last home game. It was nice for me to win, but it's a shame that the team couldn't," Withstandley said. "This only makes the team championships a bit more difficult, because we'll still probably be ranked No. 3 in our division." Penn may see Dartmouth again in the post-season, as both teams compete in the Hoehn Division at the team championships. "Today should be a good indication of how we'll do going after the Hoehn Trophy," Dartmouth coach John Power said. "I'm optimistic because we've got a great group of guys. We should match up well against the other teams." According to Thorpe-Clark, conditioning will be a big focus in the next two weeks of practice leading up to the season-ending tournament. Freshman Dan Rottenberg summed up the focus of the team after the loss. "This loss makes us even more aware that we'll have to do our best to succeed at the team championships."Comments powered by Disqus
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