On January 17, the Quakers lost a heartbreaking, 6-3 match to Navy. It was a loss became more critical as the season went on. The No. 11 Quakers found themselves one spot behind Navy in the rankings all season and remained there in the seeding for the team championships. That fact made this weekend's team championships at Yale even more rewarding. Penn finished 10th, and in the process they, as Penn coach Craig Thorpe-Clarke put it, "scuttled the Midshipmen." Penn entered the three-round tournament as the third seed out of eight teams vying for the Hoehn Cup, a trophy awarded to the nation's ninth-place team. The Quakers opened the tournament Friday against Amherst, a team they shut out earlier in the season. This time, Amherst managed to defeat both of Penn's top players -- senior Peter Withstandley and junior Roberto Kriete. But the Lord Jeffs could not come up with any other wins. Amherst senior co-captain Addison West, who had given Withstandley trouble in their previous five-game showdown, handed the Quakers co-captain his fifth loss of the season. West went undefeated in the tournament. The rest of the lineup carried Penn through the first round, as the Red and Blue's Nos. 3-9 players defeated their opponents in shutouts. After the victory over the Jeffs, Penn took on Navy. The Midshipmen claimed only one game against the Red and Blue, as the Quakers catapulted themselves to the championship match with an 8-1 win. "Coming back and beating Navy was huge," Penn sophomore Sam Miller said. "You know you've trounced a team when you beat them 8-1." Withstandley and Kriete rebounded from their first-round losses and beat their Midshipmen opponents 3-0 and 3-1, respectively. Penn sophomore Elan Levy also shut out his opponent, Navy senior Clint Lawler, after winning a third-game tiebreaker. Navy's lone victory came at the No. 4 spot, as sophomore Edson Greenwood, a Philadelphia native, handed Penn senior co-captain Will Ruthrauff a 3-1 loss. Penn's second-round victory assured the team of achieving its season-long goal -- a spot in the championship match. "We achieved our goal and are all happy that we finished top 10," Penn freshman Jason Lam said. Penn's advance in the national rankings was halted Sunday, though, when Dartmouth defeated the Red and Blue in the Hoehn Cup championship match. The tough Big Green squad defeated Penn 7-2 two weeks ago. Dartmouth mirrored that feat yesterday with another 7-2 victory. Lam and fellow freshman Matt Vergare, who lost their regular season matches against Dartmouth, netted the Red and Blue's only victories at the No. 7 and 8 positions. After the tournament, senior co-captain Withstandley retained the team lead in wins with an 11-6 record. Not far behind, however, was Lam, whose undefeated weekend left him with a 10-5 overall record. Vergare -- the only other Penn athlete to win all three of his weekend matches -- and fellow freshman Dan Rottenberg each finished 9-6. Also ending solidly for the Quakers was Levy, who posted a 9-7 record this season. Looking ahead to next season, Penn will lose only seniors Withstandley and Ruthrauff. With a strong recruiting class locked up for next year, the Quakers have an opportunity to jump up into the coveted Potter Division, which includes the top eight teams in the country. "We've got one of the best recruiting classes in the country for next year," Thorpe-Clark said. "There was lots of talk about it at this weekend. Everyone knows that Penn is a team on the rise."Comments powered by Disqus
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