For the two Penn squash programs, it was a weekend of exhilarating highs and humbling lows.
While the men's squad suffered a tough 6-3 loss to Harvard in a match senior Spencer Kurn hoped would be "the pinnacle" of the Red and Blue's season, the women wrapped up the Ivy League crown and an undefeated regular season with victories over Harvard and Dartmouth.
It's their first Ivy title since 1999-2000.
Women's coach Jack Wyant, now in his fourth year with the program, found the win especially gratifying.
"It's the first [regular-season title] for me - as a player or a coach" he said. "It was just a big relief, to tell you the truth."
Senior captain Elizabeth Kern painted the mood slightly differently.
"Right now we're absolutely ecstatic," she said. "To have it pan out the way it did, it's really a satisfying feeling."
The 5-4 triumph over Harvard (5-3, 3-2 Ivy), which Wyant called "stressful," was a hard-fought battle from start to finish.
Freshman phenom Annie Madeira came up big for the Quakers (11-0, 5-0), starting the day off with a 3-1 victory in the No. 6 position. The Pennsylvania native - who did not lose a match all year - also recorded a 3-0 win in the Quakers' shutout of Dartmouth (10-6, 1-4) yesterday.
Madeira was all smiles after her team's dream season came to a close.
"It felt incredible," she said. "We put in so much hard work all season and it's just exciting to see that it was all for a purpose."
The Quakers had to sweep the weekend without top-3 player Sydney Scott, who injured a rib cage muscle against Stanford.
"I think it showed our character as a team that, even without one of our top players, we're a really strong team all the way down the ladder," Kern said.
The men had much less reason to cheer. Even a convincing 7-2 win over Dartmouth (13-5, 2-4) on Sunday couldn't console the Quakers (6-6, 1-4) after they saw their early 3-1 lead evaporate in a 6-3 loss to Harvard (5-2, 4-1) on Saturday .
It was disappointing, because we really gave ourselves a chance to win and it just slipped away from us," Coach Craig Thorpe-Clark said of the loss to the Crimson.
Senior captain Ryan Rayfield added, "A lot of other matches could have gone the other way."
Even the Dartmouth matched proved to be no picnic. No. 3 Tara Chawla and No.5 Christina Matthias both lost their first two games - before coming back and winning the next three for the win. Just three individual matches of the nine ended in sweeps.
With each team's postseason tournament on the horizon, there will be little time to dwell on this weekend's events.
But don't tell these women not to celebrate.
"It's so exciting," Kern said. "To be an Ivy League champion is a very big deal."Comments powered by Disqus
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