The 2005-06 season was one of marked improvement for the Penn women’s squash team. Under second-year Head Coach Jack Wyant, the Quakers improved from a 4-5 showing in 2004-05 to an 8-4 record this season, and they proved they could compete with the nation’s best teams. Even in the three losses, Penn showed tremendous improvement in winning more matches than the previous year. And the best news for the Red and Blue? There isn’t a senior on the roster, so every member of the squad will return for 2006-07.
The Quaker roster was a young one, with a strong class of freshman immediately slotting into the line-up. Junior co-captains Radhika Ahluwalia and Paula Pearson began the season occupying the top two spots on the ladder, and a talented duo of freshmen in Alisha Turner and Tara Chawla were behind them. Eventually, Turner would occupy the top spot by the end of the season, with the captains, Chawla and junior Caitlin Russell competing in the top-five. Sophomores Lauralynn Drury and
Elizabeth Kern and freshmen Meggie Kempner and Emily Goodwin rounded out the line-up, playing six through nine.
The Quakers reeled off a 3-1 record before the holiday break thanks to 9-0 wins against Cornell, Franklin & Marshall and Brown. The only blemish came in a 7-2 loss to defending national champion Yale although the Quakers got wins from Turner and fellow freshman Emily Goodwin, a positive sign for the future.
Penn went on a tear after their month-long break, posting four 9-0 wins on the road against Amherst, Williams, Bates and Bowdoin. Penn returned home to face Princeton, and gave the Tigers a scare when the match was tied at 3-3. While Princeton took the final three matches to win 6-3, it was a tremendous showing by a team that lost to the Tigers, 9-0, the year before.
A similar scenario played out at Harvard, where Penn fell 6-3 to a team it lost to in 2004-05 by an 8-1 scoreline. The Quakers followed that with a 5-4 win over Ivy League rival Dartmouth, again after losing twice to the Big Green the year before.
With the Quakers knocking on the door against the nation’s top four teams this season, and with them returning every player next year, it is all but certain that Penn will be able to compete with and potentially beat the top four in the nation next year.