You win some and you lose some, but sometimes you just win them all.
Last Saturday, for only the second time in school history, both the men and women’s sides for Penn squash topped Princeton in the same season.
The wins against Princeton are just the most recent pieces of evidence for why this season is one of — if not the — the Quakers’ best.
Historically, Penn-Princeton matchups have typically not gone in favor of the Red and Blue. In 2014, the men (9-1, 2-1 Ivy) beat the Tigers (2-8, 0-3 Ivy) for the first time since 1975, a time span littered with a fair share of 9-0 wins.
The women (8-1, 2-1 Ivy) have typically been more lucky against their Princeton counterparts (6-2, 1-2 Ivy). The two sides have gone back and forth since 2000, when the Quakers beat the Tigers for the first time ever in their 26-year long rivalry.
The most recent meetings between the two teams both ended up in 5-4 losses for Penn. The score lines of this year’s matches can also be noted for the same consistency but vastly different outcomes.
Both the men and the women sent the Tigers packing with identical 8-1 outcomes, which could be accredited to simple coincidence but is also reflective of the rising parity between the two halves of the Red and Blue.
“I think it’s a reflection of how far our programs have come in the last few years, especially our men’s program,” coach Jack Wyant said.
The dominant narrative of last season was one in which the women consistently hung in with the very best while the men floated in and out of the top ten.
“Last year we were doing very well, and they were doing OK, but we’ve always wanted them to do really well as well,” sophomore Marie Stephan said.
Now both teams are the second best in the nation and had no trouble dealing with their Princeton rivals this past weekend.
While the Princeton men were No. 11 going into the contest this weekend, the women were only one spot below their Penn opponents at No. 3, but according to the players, anything goes in rivalry matches.
“Penn-Princeton, no matter what the rankings says, is no ordinary match,” junior B.G. Lemmon said. “You have to treat them like they are a No. 1 team, and that was the mentality we had all week.”
Although it is never a guarantee, the better team won last Saturday.
On the men’s side, Penn grabbed three sweeps through Lemmon, Derek Hsue, Anders Larson and Hayes Murphy.
Karim Hussein, James Watson and Tyler Odell took their opponents in four-game matches, but the story of the day came from sophomore Marwan Mahmoud at the No. 1 position.
After missing the first half of the season due to illness, the Alexandria, Egypt native picked up his first win in the current campaign.
Freshman Reeham Salah at the top of ladder for the women also pulled one out for the Quakers, winning in four games.
Like the match on men’s side, four of the Red and Blue women in Yan Xin Tan, Rowaida Attia, Michelle Wong and Anaka Alankamony swept their opponents with 3-0 wins as well.
Next weekend, the Quakers will play host to two Ancient Eight opponents when Brown and Yale come to town. Although it looks like nobody except first-ranked Harvard can challenge the Penn women’s contingent, the men have a more than capable opponent on their hands in the Bulldogs.
In fact, the No. 4 Elis boast something that even the Red and Blue cannot lay claim to: They are undefeated.
As great as the Quakers look right now, Wyant is not ready to pat his side on the back before they clash with the Bulldogs this weekend.
“They’re the top dog.”Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.