The men's squash team couldn't have scripted a better way to kick off the new semester.
The Quakers played some of their best squash of the season this weekend, knocking off Williams, Amherst and Bowdoin on a demanding road trip that required the team to play three matches in three cities within a 24-hour period.
Penn coach Craig Thorpe-Clark was happy with his squad's effort and performance.
"This was a very good weekend," he said. "I'm very pleased for the boys. They worked hard, and for us to get these wins was good, especially on the road."
The Quakers' roadtrip got off to a poor start in Williamstown, as Penn dropped the first game in seven of the nine individual matches. The Red and Blue eventually prevailed, 6-3-the closest contest of the weekend.
Thorpe-Clark had expected that his players' mettle would be put to the test against the Ephs.
"We were up against a pretty tough first opponent with Williams, who we've had some very tough matches with the last few years," he said.
"Traveling up to Williams was certainly something that we were well-prepared for, physically and mentally. It turned out to be a very tough and entertaining match."
After the Williams triumph, the Quakers cruised through their next two matches with relative ease. They defeated Amherst by a score of 8-1 before blanking Bowdoin, 9-0.
"They were not as tough as Williams," Thorpe-Clark said of the Lord Jeffs. "They were missing four players and we were just a little too strong all the way through the lineup."
He had also expected road weariness to take its toll against the Polar Bears on Sunday, saying that his players were "a little beat up." That, he said, made the big win even more satisfying.
Several Quakers came up big in New England. Thorpe-Clark reserved special praise for junior Parker Justi and senior Spencer Kurn, both of whom turned in undefeated performances. Team captain Ryan Rayfield excelled in his two matches on Saturday, while freshman James Clark, who has spent time in the No. 5 position, showed poise and promise.
Clark has shown flashes of brilliance this season, and on Saturday, he lost his first game but then won six straight.
"I felt pretty good about the way I played," he said.
"I definitely came out a little slow against Williams . Other than that, I played pretty well."
In the weeks ahead, the Quakers will face off against the three top programs in the country, Trinity, Princeton and Harvard. Rayfield hopes that his team can build off of the momentum from its current five-match winning streak as it heads into the final leg of the season.
"The next three weeks will be jam-packed with tons of workouts and serious dedication and focus on getting fitter and stronger," he said.
"I think we've shown the rest of the college teams that we're here to compete."
And with the best teams still on the schedule, the Quakers will have to prove it.Comments powered by Disqus
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