Two wins and one loss. Enough to land the Quakers in the record books.
This weekend, Penn men’s squash trekked to New Haven, Conn. for the College Squash Association National Team Championships. Coming off a 5-2 record in Ivy League play and placing second in the conference, Penn looked to clinch the national title this weekend. Though they fell a little short of taking it all, the Red and Blue ended the weekend in third, the team's best finish in the event in program history.
Starting off strong, the No. 4 Quakers defeated No. 5 Yale on Friday with an 8-1 victory. Having previously defeated Yale (10-6, 4-3 Ivy) on the road earlier this season, this marked Penn’s second win over the Bulldogs. With three courts running at once, Penn (14-4, 5-2) dominated the first shift, with senior Karim Tarek, junior David Yacobucci, and senior Jonathan Zeitels winning all three matches and starting the Red and Blue off with a 3-0 record.
The second shift saw wins from freshmen Michael Mehl and Aly Abou Eleinen. Junior Wil Hagen, freshman James Flynn, and sophomore Andrew Douglas also helped contribute to Penn’s 8-1 victory over Yale.
Yacobucci was very satisfied with the group's win.
“I would say we got most of our success just reminding ourselves how good of a team Yale is and how tough they would be especially at their home courts. This put everyone in the right mentality to play as hard as possible and to not let up at any point during the match.”
Coming off the solid victory on Friday, Penn fell in the semifinals against No. 1 Harvard on Saturday. Earlier in the season, the two teams matched up at the Kline & Specter Squash Center, and despite a slow start, Harvard (16-0, 7-0) came back to win 6-3.
This time, Penn fell, 8-1, with Douglas winning the lone match for the Red and Blue. Despite losing the first two games, Douglas came back to win, 3-2, in the fifth. Yacobucci and Flynn each split the opening games in their matches before losing the last two in 3-1 losses.
Douglas, who occupies the Quakers' No. 1 slot, left Saturday’s match believing Harvard was simply a more talented squad.
“Harvard was just better because they were more talented. They have great name recognition, and they had an amazing recruiting class, one world champion and two world championship runner-ups in the top nine," Douglas said. “So if we wanted to win we would have to have been fitter than we were.”
On Sunday, the Quakers faced Rochester (14-4) in the third-place match. Having previously defeated the Yellowjackets, 6-3, earlier this season, Penn maintained its positive record with Rochester, coming out with a 5-4 win. This landed the Red and Blue in third place for the weekend overall.
“Obviously against Rochester it was a different team from Harvard, but we regrouped well and wanted to get third," Douglas said. “We just wanted it more than them and that showed [in] the score.”
The Quakers will head to Providence, R.I. in two weeks to compete in the CSA Individual Championships, giving their top players a final chance to come out with victories. Meanwhile, the women's team will compete in the team championships next weekend.
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