This weekend marks the culmination of a remarkable season for the Penn men's squash team. The Quakers (8-3, 1-3 Ivy League) will have a chance to leapfrog teams in the rankings heading into the postseason when they square off against Harvard (7-1, 3-0) at the Ringe Squash Courts on Saturday. The Crimson have claimed all of their wins this season by way of shutout, leaving humbled opponents in their wake. The only team that managed to fend off No. 2 Harvard was top-ranked Trinity. The two-time defending national champion Bantams had to pull out all the stops to claim a 5-4 victory and once again become the undisputed No. 1 team. It marked the first time this season that either team had lost any games in a dual match. Harvard boasts one of the deepest lineups in the country and has five players who were recognized as All-Americans last year. Seniors Deepak Abraham and Grayson Witcher, along with junior Peter Karlen, were members of the All-America second team. Senior Shondip Ghosh and sophomore Dylan Patterson were honorable mention members. The Crimson, obviously, are an intimidating team to face. Penn's players, however, will hardly stand in awe of Harvard's talented lineup. "Are we scared? No," Penn junior Matt Juraska said. "[Harvard] had better come ready to play or they're going to get number two in the L column." Penn may be a bit tempted, however, to overlook Saturday's Harvard match with Sunday's contest against Dartmouth looming on the horizon. If there is one match that is a must-win in the Red and Blue's season, it is their showdown with the Big Green. Going into the last weekend of the regular season, the Quakers are tied with Dartmouth (7-5, 1-3) for fifth place in the Ancient Eight. Perhaps more importantly, the latest national rankings, which came out before Dartmouth was shelled by Yale 8-1 on Wednesday, have the Quakers and Big Green in close proximity. Dartmouth currently occupies the ninth spot in nation, while Penn has remained firmly entrenched at No. 11. A victory this weekend will give the Red and Blue a legitimate chance to claim a spot among the nation's top-10. "Absolutely I believe we should be in the top 10 if we beat Dartmouth," Penn coach Craig Thorpe-Clark said. "The team really wants that. Top 10 sounds a lot better than eleventh." To get there Penn will have to match up with a solid Dartmouth lineup that boasts few big names, but also few holes. Dartmouth junior Hamed Anvari has been the team's top player this season. As usual, Penn will be led into the weekend by its top player Peter Withstandley, who has been dominant at times on the way to 9-3 overall record. The Quakers have also been aided this year by seven-win premiers by freshmen Jason Lam and Dan Rottenberg, and six-win efforts from senior co-captain Will Ruthrauff and freshman Matt Vergare. A victory over Dartmouth would solidify Penn's movement up the rankings in the Ivies, but for the Quakers, this weekend is more about getting ready for the upcoming team championships. "A win over Dartmouth would give us a better postseason ranking," Thorpe-Clark said. "First or second seeding in our group would be very important to the team."Comments powered by Disqus
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