Not all games are won on the court. Sometimes, the real differences are made on the sidelines, at the gym or in the locker room. That’s where the coaches factor in, and for Penn squash, that department just got a whole lot stronger.
Enter Emery Maine Greenwood, the Quakers’ new assistant coach. With her addition, the program welcomes in a wealth of talent and knowledge backed up by a stacked résumé and unique background.
Greenwood is no stranger to elite collegiate and international squash, having earned College Squash Association All-American honors twice, two national titles while at Princeton, and a selection to the U.S. World Junior Squash team for play abroad. Not bad for a student-athlete splitting her time with lacrosse.
Coming off spectacular top-five finishes on both the men’s and women’s side last year, Penn squash is brimming with confidence for this go-around, and Greenwood is enthusiastic to be a part of the action.
“I think our motto this year as coaches in general is ‘one match at time.’ We’re trying not to think about the big picture too much because obviously there are expectations and a lot of high hopes after a great finish last year,” she said. “We have to win them all to get to the place we want to be so I’m really excited to get going and get into the competition.”
Since coming aboard this summer, she has only had the preseason to get to know the program and its players, but Greenwood already feels very at home at Ringe.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome. Between Jack [Wyant] and Gilly [Lane], I’ve known them both for a really long time and feel comfortable with them. I think our dynamic is pretty great and made it an easy transition with the teams,” Greenwood said. “Honestly, I think the girls were probably more excited to have a girl around, but I think it’s probably good for the guys as well to have a bit of a different perspective. Both teams are great groups of kids and it’s been a great fall so far.”
Lane, the newly promoted men’s head coach, insists that Greenwood’s transition has been seamless in part thanks to their longtime relationship off the court. The pair grew up down the street from one another and even attended the same high school, meaning they’ve been in close contact practically their entire lives.
“Emery went to Springside [Academy] and I went to Chesnut Hill [Academy]," Lane said. “Also, my brother was a classmate with her younger brother Jack, who I ended up coaching. So there’s a lot of connections between the Maine and the Lane family.”
What’s interesting is although Greenwood was a mainstay for the dominant, albeit rival, Tigers, Jack Maine was an essential member of the Quakers, playing four years with the men’s squad and captaining for two before he graduated in 2015.
In discussing that interesting dynamic with Penn’s nemesis in New Jersey, Greenwood expressed her excitement to take on her former school.
“I’m here now and want to beat them probably more than anyone,” she said. “I feel that while I didn’t go to Penn, I have real roots here. Between my brother and growing up in Philadelphia, and knowing Jack and Gilly for so long, I feel like I’ve been a part of this team for longer than I have. There’s no question where my heart is.”
When not busy competing as a Tiger, Greenwood was hitting the books, picking up her B.A. in politics with a concentration in International Relations and American Politics and entering the finance world upon graduation. After some time at the trading desk, she figured it was time to make a career change.
“I realized that it wasn’t something I wanted to be doing, and I wanted to be doing something I’m passionate about where I feel like I can make a difference,” she said. “I always sort of had coaching on the back of my mind, but it hadn’t been the right time or place. This summer I was really fortunate the stars aligned, this position opened, and I was in a position where I was ready to make a change and jump into something. It really came together as well I could have hoped for.”
With her addition, the Penn program underwent a bit of a logistical mix-up, but Lane assures fans that the foundations of the teams have not been altered.
“The access to the players is still the same. We really look at it as a Penn squash program, though, obviously, the roles have changed somewhat. Our goals and focusses are still the same. We still look to be successful on both sides and make sure the student-athletes are achieving in the classroom as well as on the court,” Lane said.
From her phenomenal collegiate career, Greenwood has a wealth of experience she hopes to bring to the Penn program in the new role, though her work may not be immediately visible on the court.
“Everyone on this team is a great player already. A lot of times, these girls and guys know what their games are and they’ve established what their strengths and weaknesses are. You’re not going to change a player in college, you can just take what they have and make them better,” she said. “That’s not always tactically or fundamentally in terms of the squash, a lot of it is mental or strategic and focusing on the preparation side. That’s most what I’m hoping to bring as a coach.”
Discussing Greenwood’s strengths, Lane put it simply:
“She’s a winner and when you add someone like that, it’s infectious.”
With the season finally underway, only time will tell what Greenwood can bring to the table for the Red and Blue.