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This weekend, the Penn men’s squash team will travel up north with only one word in its mind: redemption.

The No. 12 Quakers (4-10, 1-6 Ivy) will head to New Haven, Conn., aiming to exercise the demons of a disappointing season and defend their Hoehn Cup title.

While the Quakers were the tournament’s far-and-away favorites last year, this year’s squad finds itself looking up at the competition.

At Princeton last year, the then-No. 9 Quakers flexed their muscle from top to bottom on their way to an easy victory of the second-division tournament.

After an 8-1 victory against Bates, the Quakers received a game challenge from St. Lawrence, barely escaping the Saints on the backs of now-graduated Trevor McGuinness and Thomas Mattsson. In the final, Penn took the hardware by easily sweeping aside Columbia, 8-1.

While Penn’s season last year ended with glory, this year has told a far more dour tale.

After being ranked ninth in the preseason, the Quakers promptly dropped every single match they played in the month of January, winning only one match since the spring semester started. The team’s 28.6 percent winning percentage is the worst result the Quakers have recorded since the 1961-62 season.

“[This season] has been a roller coaster,” coach Jack Wyant said. “We have had a lot of ups and downs and this weekend will give us another opportunity to compete against those teams that are close to us in the rankings. I can tell you that I am very excited for this weekend, and I can tell you that the boys are also.”

If the Red and Blue is to redeem its season and win the Cup, they will have to avenge some earlier defeats.

Of the seven other teams in the tournament, the Quakers have played six, losing three.

The only opponent that the Quakers haven’t faced happens to be their first opponent, No. 13 Western Ontario. Stationed in London, Ontario, Western Ontario has had its way with Penn historically, as evident by the 3-11 all-time series record in favor of the Mustangs.

The last time the two teams met was in the 2011 Hoehn Cup B Division final, where the Mustangs defeated the Quakers, 7-2.

Wyant is well aware of the talent of the Canadian side.

“I played against these guys in college and they have always been very talented,” Wyant said. “Maybe not the most disciplined team historically, but talent-wise they are definitely a top six or seven team in the country. There are ways you can combat that. We can make the matches really long and hard and fiercely competitive then I think we can give ourselves a chance.”

But to give themselves a chance, the Quakers will have to reverse not only history, but also the problems that have plagued the team all season that led to their fall from grace.


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