After a week in which both the Penn men’s and women’s squash teams defeated national power Princeton, the Red and Blue now enter a demanding stretch of Ivy League competition that starts this Saturday at home against another national contender, Yale.
The No. 10 men’s team (6-2, 2-1 Ivy) defeated the No. 7 Tigers, 7-2, on the heels of senior co-captain John Dudzik and junior co-captain Jack Maine . On Saturday at Ringe Courts, the Quakers will try to add another impressive victory to the team’s mantelpiece against the No. 3 Bulldogs (10-1, 2-0).
“The Penn men’s team for a long time hasn’t been able to crack into the top eight or beat anyone in the top eight, and we kind of proved that we are at that level and we are a growing program,” Maine said. “Beating Princeton definitely gave us the confidence that, yes, Yale is ranked No. 3 in the country, but we definitely have a chance to pull out a victory.”
Head coach Jack Wyant also sees the Princeton victory as a boost to his teams’ psyche.
“The main thing that they can carry with them for the rest of the season is the confidence that they can play at a high level and that they can execute their game plan against the top level teams,” Wyant said.
Maine also believes that the team will need to execute from top to bottom in order to defeat the Bulldogs.
“We know that they are strong at the top, and the bottom half of our lineup is going to have to produce,” Maine said. “There are definitely holes in the lineup that we can take advantage of … if we play the game we want to play, then we can impress somebody.”
The No. 3 women’s team (6-2, 2-1 Ivy) defeated No. 4 Princeton, 6-3, and was led by senior co-captain Chloe Blacker , who is still undefeated individually this season at the bottom of the ladder.
Blacker is excited about the upcoming match for the Quakers against No. 5 Yale (12-1, 2-0 Ivy).
“We’re really excited about this weekend. We played with so much heart, and we’re looking forward to do the same thing on Saturday,” she said. Despite the rankings advantage, Penn won’t be taking the Bulldogs lightly.
“My expectation is that this match will be more competitive than last year,” Wyant said. “On the women’s side, I think the talent level is probably equal, so I think that the team that has worked the hardest and that executes the best on Saturday will win.”
The Red and Blue’s distinct home court advantage — both teams are undefeated at the Ringe Squash Courts this year — may get an added boost, as Wyant expects over 350 fans to attend the Saturday matches.
“It’s going to be an absolute zoo in here,” he said. “It’s going to be great.”
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