PHILADELPHIA - After wrapping up the final weekend of the regular season with a near win over former No. 1 Harvard, and dominating wins over No. 6 Stanford and No. 8 Dartmouth, Penn (8-3, 4-2 Ivy) will open up Howe Cup play on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. Penn, seeded fourth coming into the tournament, will open up the weekend against fifth-seeded Princeton. This pairing will be a rematch of the January 27 showdown, where Penn downed Princeton 5-4 on a match capped by senior captain Annie Madeira's win at number three. The Quakers were down 4-1 at one point in that match, but rallied to take the final four matches of the evening for the comeback victory. Nabilla Ariffin, Yarden Odinak, Pia Trikha, and Courtney Jones were the other winners against Princeton.
The Quakers come into the Howe Cup with no shortage of success during the regular season. Five of the Quaker's team victories have come via a 9-0 shutout. The team also won two contests by an 8-1 final. Individually, six Quakers have accumulated at least eight victories during the regular season. Heading that list are the two Quakers who will enter the weekend with perfect records after going undefeated during the regular season. Odinak and Trikha both finished the season 11-0. Odinak played anywhere from the second through fourth positions on the ladder with six of her wins coming in 3-0 sweeps. Trikha played the entire season at number five. Incredibly, nine of her 11 victories came in 3-0 shutouts. Her match against Stanford was the only time that she was even taken to the decisive fifth game.
Madeira finished the season with a 10-1 record, while compiling a perfect 6-0 mark in Ivy League play. She also had nine sweeps of her opponents during the season, splitting time between the third and fourth positions on the ladder. Jones, playing between the sixth and seventh slots, picked up nine victories during the regular season, with eight of them by via sweeps. Rachael Goh picked up eight wins on the year, playing in the top third of the ladder, primarily at number two. Chloe Blacker was the final Quaker to reach the eight win mark. In her freshman campaign, Blacker played all but one match at number eight. She will be riding a personal three-match winning streak going into the weekend.
As a team, Penn has faced all eight schools that will be represented in the Howe Cup this weekend. They experienced close 5-4 defeats at the hands of No. 1 Yale and No. 2 Harvard. They also took a 6-3 loss against No. 3 Trinity back in January. On the other hand, the Quakers have also had their share of success against the sixth, seventh, and eighth seeded teams. In addition to the aforementioned 8-1 and 9-0 victories over No. 6 Stanford and No. 8 Dartmouth, the Quakers also have a 9-0 victory against Cornell back in December.
Before Penn can worry about these six possible opponents, it must first focus on the opening round matchup with Princeton, who is hosting the Howe Cup. With the line-ups that were submitted recently, Princeton will run out the same ladder as it did the first time against Penn. The only change for the Quakers is that Jones and Stephanie Vogel will swap places on the ladder. Jones will play at six for the weekend, while Vogel will move to number seven. Regardless of the outcomes this weekend, Penn is guaranteed three matches throughout the three-day event. The Howe Cup will start on Friday morning with two matchups in the bottom half of the bracket. Third-seeded Trinity will play sixth-seeded Stanford and No. 2 Harvard will play No. 7 Cornell at 11:30 a.m. Following these matches, Penn will take the courts with Princeton at 2 p.m. To cap off the first day of action, No. 1 Yale will take on No. 8 Dartmouth at 4:30 p.m. In addition to full recaps on PennAthletics.com, the College Squash Association Website will also be providing regular updates throughout the competition.
Full brackets for the Howe Cup are available here.