After last week's cakewalk, tonight's match could be a rude awakening for the men's squash team.
Eight days ago, Penn routed Franklin and Marshall 9-0 in a match that senior captain Ryan Rayfield said "went pretty much as expected."
Tonight promises to be different as the Quakers host the far more formidable Princeton Tigers, whom coach Craig Thorpe-Clark has never beaten in his nine years at Penn.
In addition to their No. 2 national ranking, the Tigers can also boast that they are the only NCAA squad to win any individual matches against squash powerhouse Trinity this season. And three of the top four players in the country wear Tiger orange.
When asked to assess their opponent tonight, the Quakers didn't exude their trademark confidence.
"On paper, they are definitely a stronger team," senior co-captain Lee Rosen said. "But that's why the matches are played."
Princeton junior Mauricio Sanchez, the nation's best player, tops the Red and Blue's list of concerns.
"Mauricio Sanchez is a phenomenal Mexican [player]," said senior Spencer Kurn. "He's just a very tough, good player - and he's very quick. He's won national tournaments his entire life, so he's definitely going to stand out."
Kimlee Wong, a Princeton junior from Malaysia, may also pose matchup problems for Penn tonight.
"[He] has really shown some great stuff in the past," Kurn said. "Especially against me."
Another question mark for the Quakers is Kurn's health. He missed the Franklin and Marshall match so he could rest the hamstring he tore a few weeks ago against Williams.
The Providence native was upbeat about his progress.
"It's a lot better - I'd say it's 90 percent," he said. "It's not bothering me at all when I play."
But even a rehabilitated Kurn might not be enough. While a victory would be nice, the Quakers are just hoping to turn in a solid effort while keeping their eyes on the real prize - Harvard, whom they play Saturday.
"Princeton's so good - we're going to bring 100 percent of our game, but, most likely, we're probably not going to win the match," Kurn said. "Harvard is the pinnacle of our season."Comments powered by Disqus
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