PHILADELPHIA - After a week and half off since the epic comeback win against No. 4 Princeton, women's squash will return home to host three matches this weekend. After five individual matches against Princeton, Penn (6-2, 3-1 Ivy) was trailing 4-1. With no margin for error, the Quakers responded with four victories to take the Ivy League showdown 5-4. Senior captain Annie Madeira sealed the comeback victory with her win at number three and now returns to Philadelphia to take part in the final home competitions of her career at Penn. The matches for Penn this weekend look to be just as tight with the Quakers finishing up their Ivy League Schedule. Penn is currently in third place in the Ivy League.
On Saturday, Harvard (6-0, 3-0 Ivy), currently ranked first nationally, comes to Ringe Courts at noon. Harvard is one of two teams that still remain undefeated in Ivy League play to date. In all six of the Crimson's matches this season, Harvard has yet to drop an individual match. All of their victories have come by a 9-0 sweep of their opponents. Harvard's ladder features nine players ranked 51st or higher. This list includes the nation's number one player and defending national champion, Laura Gemmell. A year ago, Penn and Harvard met twice. In their first match, Harvard defeated Penn 8-1 to clinch the Ivy League Championship. The next time these teams met, it was on the grand stage of squash, at the Howe Cup National Finals. Unfortunately for the Quakers, the improved result did not translate into a victory as Penn fell 6-3. This matchup with Harvard will mark the third straight top-five matchup for the Quakers.
On Sunday, the Quakers will face another pair of stiff tests as No. 6 Stanford (6-3) and No. 8 Dartmouth (7-4, 0-3 Ivy) come to town. The matchup on Sunday will begin against Dartmouth at 11 a.m. Dartmouth currently sits in a sixth place tie in Ivy League competition and will be looking to get its first Ivy League win on the year. These results can be deceiving as the Big Green has won three of their last four matches, with all of these victories coming by a 9-0 sweep. Dartmouth's ladder features six players who are currently ranked in the top 100 in the country. Their top player, Valeria Weins, is a returning All-American currently ranked fifth in the country. The Quakers will be looking for a repeat of last year's performance as Penn dominated Dartmouth last season, 9-0.
After the matchup with Dartmouth, Penn will host a non-conference matchup with Stanford. Stanford will be wrapping up the last if its own three match road trip as the Cardinal will play on Friday and Saturday before coming to Philadelphia on Sunday. Coming into the weekend, the Cardinal is on a three match winning streak. The match with Stanford will be a good test for Penn as all nine Cardinal players are ranked in the top 100. After the match with Stanford, Penn will have played every team that is currently ranked in the 10.
The Quakers will need several individuals to continue their success if they want to come away with three victories on the weekend. Both Yarden Odinak and Pia Trikha will bring their unblemished 8-0 records into this weekend's competitions. Madeira and freshman Courtney Jones also bring 7-1 records to the table. Madeira is also the only other Quaker besides Odinak and Trikha to have a perfect 4-0 Ivy League record this season. At the top of the ladder, sophomores Nabilla Ariffin and Rachael Goh are both 6-2 coming into this weekend.
The women's action against Harvard will start off at noon on Saturday and will be immediately followed by the men's match. On Sunday, both the men and women will play at 11 a.m. versus Dartmouth. Following the match with Dartmouth, Penn and Stanford will take the courts at what is slated for a 1 p.m. start time.