The Navy Midshipmen haven’t put up much of a fight against Penn men’s squash in recent times.
But although Penn has swept Navy six of the last nine years, the No. 14 Quakers are taking nothing for granted as they look forward to hosting the No. 17 Midshipmen on Thursday.
“We are just looking to get five wins at the match on Thursday,” coach Jack Wyant said. “We’ve had a couple heartbreaking losses.”
Two 5-4 losses to George Washington and Williams have convinced Wyant that his team’s 2-2 record doesn’t reflect its growth so far this season.
“A couple points here and there and we could be 4-0,” Wyant said. “I feel like we’re making progress as a team and we’re improving, but sometimes during the improvement process you have to take a few steps backwards to move forwards.”
Freshman Liam Quinn has epitomized that progress by working his way up four spots to No. 5 on the ladder, where he’s 3-1 on the season. Quinn has been refining his game for the last few weeks.
“[I’m] working to increase stamina, to take the ball early,” Quinn said.
Taking the ball early and volleying have been points of emphasis for Wyant as well.
“We want our boys to move to the ball as quickly as possible and hit it crisply to apply more pressure,” Wyant said. “We’re really working on the basics in terms of getting good length, good width.”
Navy won’t be a pushover, though, having taken Penn to the brink during the Quakers’ 5-4 win in last season’s matchup. Down 4-2 to the Midshipmen, the Quakers won three straight games to eke out the victory. Danny Greenberg, now No. 1, will square off against Navy sophomore Andrew McGuinness, who has only suffered one loss this year but fell to Greenberg, 3-0, at last year’s CSA Individual Championships.
“Me and the team are looking forward to this match and the season,” Quinn said. “We hope to have people here supporting us and do our best to win.”
And with the heartbreaking losses starting to add up, a rare close shave against Navy would be just fine for Wyant.
“We’ll take anything that gets us a ‘W,’” he said. “5-4, 9-0, 8-1, we’ll take it all.”
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