In their final weekend in action for 2017, Penn men’s and women's squash defended their home court against some of the nation’s best.
While the women edged No. 14 Williams College, 6-3, the men split their Sunday doubleheader, falling to No. 3 St. Lawrence in the morning, 6-3, before sweeping No. 21 Williams later that afternoon.
Despite the mixed results for the men (5-1), a narrow loss to the third-best program in the country (2-0) for the Collegiate Squash Association’s No. 5 squad can hardly been seen as a bitter disappointment. Highlights could still be drawn from the top-seed match, for instance, in which Penn’s star freshman Andrew Douglas swept the second-ranked player in the entire CSA, Egyptian Ahmed Bayoumy, 3-0.
Douglas has dropped just one of his 19 games this season, marching out to a 6-0 record with two more wins on Sunday.
In the men’s nightcap against Williams (1-6), the Quakers swept almost entirely across the board — eight of the nine men won their games 3-0, while junior Karim Tarek in the five slot dropped his first game but took the next three to complete the 9-0 sweep of the Ephs.
At the same time, the CSA No. 5 women’s team (4-1) found itself in a much tighter match-up with Williams (2-4). The Quakers enjoyed a surge from their players in the three-through-seven slots along with a typically dominant performance from top woman Reeham Sedky to beat the Ephs, 6-3.
Sedky beat her opponent on center court in three straight 11-1 games, despite being struck in the face by a racquet seven points into the first game and having to take a break to stop the bleeding.
"I had so much adrenaline, so it didn't really affect me until after the match," Sedky explained seven hours later, with her nose still bleeding. "It did sting in the beginning, but it was fine."
A fierce fight at the No. 3 slot between sophomore Lindsay Stanley and Williams’ Julia Ward was the highlight of the day. After losing the first and third games — including an 11-5 score in the third — things looked bleak for Stanley, but she climbed back with an 11-7 game to tie it up and finished with an 11-8 game to win it all and tilt the balance of the day in the Quakers’ favor.
The women made it past Williams to end a tough stretch of matches they played without crucial members of their squad. Melissa Alves, Marie Stephan, and Jess Davis all missed the contest against Williams, forcing the majority of the squad to play up against higher-level competition.
"We have someone like Lindsay Stanley who usually plays five or six on the team, but today she played three. She might have felt some pressure in the beginning, but she handled it really well," Sedky said. "It should give her that confidence boost, knowing that if she can win at the three, then she can definitely win at the five or six."
Both the men and the women will now rest until next semester. The men’s team returns to action on Jan. 10 against Rochester, while the women will take a few more days off and play Brown on the 14th.