PHILADELPHIA – The No. 13 Penn men’s squash team (3-2, 0-0 Ivy) begin Ivy League match play this weekend, welcoming third-ranked Harvard (7-0, 1-0) to the Ringe Squash Courts on Saturday at noon, and No. 8 Dartmouth (3-2, 0-1) on Sunday at 11 a.m. Penn will look to break Harvard’s stranglehold on them, one that has lasted since the beginning of Ivy League competition and has seen the Crimson go 68-2 all-time against the Red and Blue. Against the Big Green, the Quakers hold a considerable edge all-time, 46-23, but will look to get back on track after losing the last three meetings.
Although two all-time wins are not too much to be excited about, one thing the Quakers can hang their hats on is the fact that both came at home. Penn, which hasn’t beaten Harvard since 1979 – the same year the legendary Ned Edwards coached Penn to a National Collegiate Championship – will look to find that same magic at the Ringe once again.
The match to watch on Saturday will most certainly be at No. 1 between two players that have never seen one another. Penn’s senior captain Danny Greenberg (3-2) is ranked No. 60 in the most recent CSA individual rankings, and he will be playing Ali Farag (3-0), who holds the No. 1 spot on that list.
Greenberg started the season slow, but heads into the match the winner of three straight, his most recent coming over Andrew McGuinness of Navy, 3-1 (11-8, 11-9, 11-13, 11-4). Farag, on the other hand, has had a bit more stiff competition this year, but has stood tough, downing Andres Duany of Rochester and Christopher Hanson of Dartmouth, two top-10 players. Greenberg, Penn’s lone senior and team captain, will look to lead his team by example by upsetting the nation’s top collegiate men’s squash player.
As a team, both Harvard and Penn have squared off against Bates and Williams. The Quakers won a close match against Bates in Washington, D.C., 5-4, but suffered the opposite fate against Williams, losing 5-4. The Crimson topped both teams with ease, 9-0 each.
Penn has dominated Dartmouth throughout their history, especially at home where the Quakers hold a 21-8 advantage. But, the Red and Blue have lost three straight to the Big Green – one at home – and will look to get themselves back in the win column. Most recently, the two teams met in Hanover, N.H. on Jan. 15 of last season, and Dartmouth took an extremely tight match, 5-4.
The match at No. 1 is an intriguing one that pits Greenberg against Hanson, a player he has met just once in his collegiate career – Hanson dropped Greenberg at No. 1 in straight games, 3-0 (13-11, 11-2, 11-4) on Feb. 7, 2010 in Hanover when the two were both freshmen – but knows extremely well, having met as early as 2003. In total, the two have squared off eight times, including five junior championships, and have split, 4-4, with Hanson taking the last three.