Philadelphia may be getting colder, but Penn squash is heating up.
For the second straight year, Penn participated in the Pennsylvania State Classic Squash Tournament hosted by Franklin & Marshall College. Like last year, the tourney featured four teams: Penn, Drexel, Franklin & Marshall, and Dickinson. And just like last year, the Red and Blue handily dominated its competition.
Third-year coach Gilly Lane stressed that Penn’s wins were the result of dedication and hard work.
“[The men] have done a great job of getting [themselves] prepared for moments like these and matches that are important,” said Lane. “Both teams have put a lot of work into their preparation this year, and it was great to see it pay off.”
After an Ivy League scrimmage in New Haven last weekend, both teams had something to prove heading into their first matches of the season. Once again, they did just that.
In their first contests of the tournament on Saturday, both the men’s and women’s teams defeated No. 17 and No. 21 Franklin & Marshall respectively — the men swept, while the women won 8-1. The men had just three matches go longer than three games, while the women swept seven of the nine matches.
Playing in the top spot for the women (2-0), last season’s Ivy League Player of the Year and defending National Champion Reeham Sedky lost just six total points on Saturday as she won 11-1, 11-3, 11-2 in a 3-0 sweep. Notably, junior Lindsay Stanley won two of her three games by shutting out her opponent, 11-0, and helped power the Red and Blue into the second round.
On Sunday, they ran into much stiffer competition against No. 9 Drexel. Though Sedky dropped just two points in another dominant victory, the Quakers were down 2-4 until wins by Julia Buchholz and Nicole Windreich evened the score. The tie would be broken by No. 5 Stanley.
Despite losing the first two games, Stanley hit a hot streak once again, fighting back to even the match at two sets apiece. With the result of the match and the Pennsylvania Classic title on the line, the junior took the fifth and final game 11-7.
Meanwhile, the men (2-0) followed up their first round victory with an 8-1 win over No. 11 Drexel, defeating their 33rd Street rivals for the second straight year.
For the second straight day, the Quakers were successful at the top and showed off their depth at the bottom of the lineup. Andrew Douglas led the way at the No. 1 spot, getting a 3-0 win.
Notably, Penn’s three freshmen — Aly Abou Eleinen, Michael Mehl, and James Flynn — are still undefeated in their college careers, and they lost just one point between them on Sunday.
“[This year’s freshman class is] pretty unique in that they’ve come in with a great junior national career. They expect big things from themselves and their teammates and, in return, their teammates expect big things from them,” Lane said. “We’re very fortunate to have them, and we’re also very fortunate to have them contribute to the culture that’s being created here.”
With a very promising start to season play, both teams will look to keep their momentum rolling. The women’s team hosts Stanford this Friday before both the men’s and women’s teams host George Washington on Saturday and Virginia on Sunday.