Coming out of the first weekend of the regular season, Penn squash could not have asked for much better results.
Traveling to Maine for a three-game road trip, both the men and women’s squash team came away with a perfect 3-0 record.
On Saturday, both teams faced Bates College and Colby College. The No. 9 men's team defeated No. 13 Bates 7-2 (3-2) and then No. 23 Colby 9-0 (2-0). Meanwhile the No. 3 women defeated No. 14 Bates (3-2) and No. 22 Colby (2-0).
On Sunday, both teams faced Bowdoin College. The men defeated the No. 22 Polar Bears, 9-0, and the women defeated their No. 19 counterparts in similar, 9-0 style.
“Both teams competed very well — they prepared very well,” coach Jack Wyant said. “So they didn’t let things like the distance or the long bus ride get in the way of them having success on the court.”
The women defeated Bates in dominant fashion, allowing the Bobcats to only score one point the entire match. At the No. 1 spot on the ladder, the Bobcats won a single game, however the Quakers were able to secure the shutout at every other spot.
In the men’s matchup against their highest-ranked opponent of the weekend, they were able to take seven games against the Bobcats. Even in their few losses, they were also able to find positives.
Penn freshman Marwan Mahmoud entered the weekend at the No. 1 position on the ladder and thus had to face Bates’ junior Ahmed Abdel Khalek.
After falling down two games in the match, Mahmoud battled back to tie the score and force it into a fifth game, a rare occasion for Khalek who is undefeated since his freshman year and who coach Wyant describes as a top five player in the nation. Though Khalek would win the deciding fifth game to win the matchup, Mahmoud’s tough performance shows that the future for Penn men’s squash is bright.
“That shows us that he’s got the ability to play against the very best that are playing college squash so that was an exciting match,” Wyant said.
The men’s team started freshmen in the three top spots of the ladder, and they proved very capable, coming away from the weekend with a collective 8-1 record. The women’s team started four of its six freshman, and they returned with a 12-0 cumulative record.
“The freshmen were great for both teams,” Wyant said. “For both teams they are playing high in the ladder and they were very solid in their debut."
Due to the dominant victories over the weekend, the Quakers were able to make the long trip back to Penn — which included famous lobster rolls before they left Maine — much more enjoyable.
“There is a lot of optimism and there is a really good feeling amongst both teams,” Wyant said. “We’re really looking forward to our next match.”
That next match for the Quakers will be for the men against Navy on Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. at Ringe Courts.
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