The University of Pennsylvania men’s squash team experienced unprecedented success in 2006-07. From knocking off an Ivy League rival early in the season, to finishing the season with their highest national ranking under Head Coach Craig Thorpe-Clark, the Quakers took giant steps toward becoming a national power.
The top of the order was solidified by All-Americans Gilly Lane and Lee Rosen. Lane had a 7-2 overall record, earned his fourth All-America and All-Ivy nominations and became the first Penn player to receive the College Squash Association’s (CSA) Skillman Award. Mark Froot, Ben Ende, Spencer Kurn and Graham Bassett were stalwarts in the middle of the lineup. Andrew Zimmerman, Parker Justi, Ryan Rayfield and Christopher Thompson shared time at the bottom of the order.
Penn shut out Cornell in its season-opener, 9-0. However, it was the Quakers’ second match of the season that was marked on their calendars. After losing a tough, 5-4 decision to Yale a year earlier, Penn returned the favor in early December with a convincing 6-3 upset. Lane, Rosen and Froot won at the Nos. 1-3 positions to lead the Red and Blue to victory.
The Quakers returned from semester break to pick up wins over Navy, Amherst, Williams and Franklin & Marshall to improve to 7-0. It was the perfect time for Penn to be hot, as their next three matches were against powerhouses Trinity, Princeton and Harvard. The Quakers suffered 9-0 losses to Trinity and Princeton and a 6-3 loss to the Crimson. Penn rebounded to shut out Dartmouth to close out the regular season.
Despite losing three out of four, Penn headed into the College Squash Association (CSA) Team Championships as the No. 4 seed and was pitted against No. 5 Yale. The second meeting against the Bulldogs was not as friendly to the Quakers, who lost 7-2. Lane and Rosen got things rolling with victories, but Yale swept through the rest of the Penn lineup.
Penn avenged the opening-round loss by beating Dartmouth handily, 8-1. The following day the Quakers beat Williams by the same score, but it was a lot closer than the score indicated as six matches went to five games with the Quakers winning four of those. With the win, Penn secured a No. 5 final ranking.
Coming off its best finish, and with a solid core of underclassmen, Penn will look to continue building on its success next season. Replacing the success and experience of Lane, Ende, Bassett and Rayfield will be a challenging task, but Kurn, Rosen, Justi, Zimmerman, Froot and Thompson have the experience to be the cornerstones of next year’s squad.