Eager energy filled the newly-renovated Penn Squash Center on Wednesday night.
One of the most anticipated matches of the year for No. 3 Penn men’s squash (7-2, 1-1 Ivy) and the No. 8 women’s team (5-3, 1-1) against Princeton's No. 4 men’s and No. 3 women’s teams was taking place.
Both teams for the Quakers were searching for a spark to drive their teams to victory over the Tigers after coming off losses to No. 2 Trinity earlier in the week.
The powerhouse freshman duo of Saksham Choudhary from the men’s team and Amina Abou El Enin from the women’s team has been key for the Red and Blue throughout the season, and the Quakers needed strong performances from both players to find success against Princeton.
Both of these freshmen were undefeated going into the match, with Choudhary reigning as the leader on the men’s team with a 9-0 record and Abou El Enin dominating the competition for the women with a record of 8-0.
Facing off against the Tigers was something that both of the freshmen were excited to do.
“I was really excited to play them for the first time in my career. Everyone on the team has been training really hard, and we were determined to show that today,” Choudhary said.
As the men took the court first, freshman Tushar Shahani had a standout performance from the men’s team, coming back from an early deficit in the No. 9 slot to win a four-game match.
Choudhary was the last match of the night for the men’s team.
“I was definitely excited, knowing the importance of the match for us and the fact that everyone was supposed to be on top of their games today," he said.
Choudhary did not hold back during his match, taking the lead and eventually winning all three of his games to win his match. The team won overall by a score of 7-2.
Later in the evening, junior Julia Buchholz played four nail-biting games, eventually defeating her opponent by a score of 3-1. At this point, the women’s team was optimistic for a battle to win the entire team match.
Abou El Enin went back and forth with the Tigers, dropping the third set of her match, but ultimately winning her match in the final game. However, it was not enough to secure the overall win for the women’s team, which lost to the Tigers, 6-3. Despite the Quakers' overall loss, the win for Abou El Enin allowed her to keep her win-loss record pristine.
Although the women's team is walking away from a loss, the men’s team is excited for more.
“I am just really proud of our effort today. Everyone was determined to fight for every single point, with our seniors leading the way,” Choudhary said.
Both of Penn's teams will face off against No. 13 Brown this Saturday.