Penn squash continued its Ivy League matchups this weekend, as they wrapped up regular season play.
Splitting time between home and on the road, the men's and women's teams played against Columbia in the Penn Squash Center on Friday, then traveled to Ithaca, N.Y. on Sunday to take on Cornell. Both teams were ultimately successful on the weekend, with each garnering two valuable wins.
On Friday, the No. 3 men’s team (12-2, 6-1 Ivy) handily defeated No. 11 Columbia (7-9, 4-3) by a score of 9-0 on Senior Night. After what was the last home match of the season, the Red and Blue continued their success at Cornell.
The Quakers started with four straight-set wins against Columbia, setting up senior Wil Hagen to clinch his team their last home match of the season. Although he dropped his first game, Hagen resiliently fought, taking each of the next games by a margin of five points or greater to earn the match win for the Red and Blue. David Yacobucci, the a fellow senior, finished his last home game of his Penn career strong with a dominant 3-0 win.
This match was particularly special for the team in that it was the first time they had defeated the Lions in six seasons.
“I think it was a really good weekend," coach Gilly Lane said. "We hadn’t beaten them since 2014, so it was a great way for us to send our seniors off and I was happy David and Wil Hagen got those wins."
Also playing on Senior Night, the No. 7 Penn women (8-5, 4-3) edged the No. 6 Lions (9-6, 4-3) in a nail-biter. A pair of gritty 3-2 wins from the Red and Blue followed by a five-game loss set the match up for a tight finish. Another 3-2 win, this time from freshman Ashley Manning’s win was the final dagger into the Lions team; taking the last game 11-9, she sealed the victory for the Red and Blue.
“The main thing is that we need to continue to make sure that when things get tight in our matches, we focus on executing our game plan rather than thinking about the outcome," women's coach Jack Wyant said. “It’s incredibly important especially when matches can literally come down to two points one way or another”
Both teams then traveled to Ithaca, N.Y. to take on the Cornell. The men played a talented, No. 13 ranked Big Red (5-9, 1-5) squad and scored a second 9-0 victory, the team's program-high ninth of the season.
Freshman Saksham Choudhary continued his perfect streak, finishing the season with a flawless 14-0 record. Looking forward to the postseason, the men now waits for placement in the CSA championships in Cambridge, Mass.
“We need to continue to improve physically and mentally, to continue to make better choices in shot selection and do a ton of video work in order to prepare for nationals," Lane said. “We’re going to take a couple of days of rest and then get back to work mid-week and are looking forward to a strong showing at the national championships."
The Penn women also had considerable success against the No. 11 ranked Big Red (5-9, 1-5 Ivy). Finishing in a convincing 7-2 tally, the team's young talent shined. Starting slow and giving up two of the first three possible points, the Red and Blue went on the offensive, winning the final six matches. Sisters Jamila and Amina Abou El Enin both went undefeated against the New York teams, gaining two instrumental points in the wins.
“We had a real nail-biter versus Columbia,” Wyant said. “We had a long talk about what we could do better after that match and I felt like today, the team showed great progress and executed the game plan cleaner today … and that resulted in the 7-2 win."
The women’s team is preparing to wrap up their season at the CSA championships in New Haven, Conn.
Overall, both teams have remarkable seasons and will look to solidifying their place in Penn history at the CSA championships.
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