How do you come back from a loss to the nation’s top-ranked team and your primary rival? Three wins in the next three days seems as good a place to start as any.
After topping No. 9 Dartmouth on Sunday, Penn women’s squash took home another two impressive victories over the past two days, defeating No. 3 Trinity and No. 14 Drexel to move to (5-1, 1-1 Ivy) on the year.
The Quakers defeated the Bantams, 5-4, on Monday afternoon and swept the Dragons 9-0 the following day.
“I’m happy to hold on to the number two ranking,” coach Jack Wyant said. “But I know that we can play even better.”
Monday’s outing took place at home on the Ringe Squash Courts and saw Penn win in a tight contest. Coming off of a weekend where the team fell to Harvard in a replay of last year’s championship match, Wyant appreciated the boost the following wins gave his side.
“In terms of morale it was really important,” the 13-year coach said. “The team had very mixed emotions after the weekend.”
Against Trinity, Reeham Salah, Melissa Alves, Marie Stephen, Michelle Wong and Rowaida Attia all won their matches for the Red and Blue.
“We aren’t firing on all cylinders, but we have some team members playing better than they have ever before,” Wyant said. The coach reserved special praise for Wong and Attia, who respectively played at the No. 6 and No. 7 positions for the Quakers.
On Tuesday night, No. 2 Penn entered its match with neighboring No. 14 Drexel on the back end of a four-match stretch in four days.
The Red and Blue were also left without senior Anaka Alankamony, who had just played at the No. 4 spot on the ladder the day before against the Bantams.
Despite this, the team had no shortage of energy, sweeping Drexel in a dominant 9-0 win.
Up next for the Quakers is No. 5 Stanford this weekend. After the team’s close call with Trinity, Wyant is looking forward to the upcoming match to see if his team can repeat this success against the country’s elite.
“Our ultimate goal is to play to our full potential in the matches that matter the most,” the coach said.
Wyant hopes that the team can build off of its recent success as the season goes on. After last weekend’s heart wrenching loss to the Crimson, Penn will be as eager as ever to claw its way back to the title match.
The two wins against Trinity and Drexel are good places to start.
As the second ranked team in the nation, its not hard to see why Wyant still pegs the Quakers’ ultimate goal as a national championship, something that he and his players believe to be firmly in reach.
“We can win if we have all nine women playing to reach their peak performance,” he said. “But it is gonna take a lot of hard work between now and the end of the year.”
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