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Men and Women's Squash vs. Columbia Credit: Michele Ozer , Michele Ozer

Two days, three matches and early top 25 drama are slated for Penn squash this weekend in Maine, and a long 10 hour bus ride is all that stands between the Red and Blue and their first official games of the 2014-2015 season.

Colby, Bates and Bowdoin are on the horizon in a three-match opening weekend for the Quakers .

The ninth-ranked men’s squad finds itself in an early season battle to keep its lofty preseason ranking with three matches against top 25 opponents.

“The pressure’s on us to go up there and perform,” coach Jack Wyant said. “Hopefully we can come back with three victories.”

After being slighted in the preseason polls and dropped out of Potter Cup contention, Penn men’s squash looks to prove the coaches of the College Squash Association wrong. Using their “underdog” mentality as fuel to improve this year, the Quakers want to continue their ascent up the ranks of the CSA.

“You can liken us to Ohio State [in college football],” Wyant said. “We believe that we belong, but others aren’t convinced yet”

“We’ve definitely noticed, and it made us more hungry,” senior captain Michael Mutscheller added. “We believe we can definitely finish higher than ninth with the talent we have.”

Bates, a team that split its two matchups with the Quakers in the 2012-13 season, is not a squad that Penn will take lightly this time around.

“We’re not overlooking them,” Mutscheller added. “We want to see the hard work we put in this offseason pay off.”

According to sophomore Anaka Alankamony, No. 3 Penn women’s squash is approaching this weekend as an opportunity to knock the rust off before its more meaningful matches later in the season.

“It’s a good experience for us to play easier teams early in the season,” Alankamony said. “Playing Harvard, Princeton and Yale later in the season will be beneficial to us.”

Due to the laid-back nature of this weekend, there will be plenty of opportunities for the younger players to gain valuable experience playing on the ladder for the Quakers. Despite their lack of experience with college-level squash, the Red and Blue aren’t too worried about any growing pains.

“Most of the freshmen are international,” Alankamony said. “They have a lot of experience already playing on a ladder for their country.”

In Wyant’s first ever trip to the Pine Tree State, Penn looks to bring its success from last season along in order to leave with an unblemished record and defended ranking.

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