PHILADELPHIA – Here we go! The University of Pennsylvania men’s squash team begins the 2016-17 season this Saturday by hosting Virginia and George Washington at the Ringe Squash Courts. It is the first time since 2013 that the Quakers will start a new campaign at home.
*The Quakers return a large contingent from a team that went 11-6 a season ago, and finished the year ranked fifth in the country at the College Squash Association (CSA) Team Championships. Last year also saw Penn notch its first victory over Harvard since 1979. Eight of Penn’s nine starters in the win over the Crimson return for the 2016-17 season.
*The Quakers are led by senior captain, George Lemmon, who is coming off a historic junior year. Lemmon broke the program’s single-season record for wins a season ago, registering a mark of 15-2 (6-1 in the Ivy League) at positions 6-10. In addition, he went a perfect 3-0 against Rochester, Columbia and Harvard at the CSA Championships.
*Penn’s top players in the lineup, Marwan Mahmoud and Hayes Murphy, are also back a year after receiving first-team All-Ivy honors. Mahmoud, who went 5-6 at No. 1, earned first-team accolades for the second straight season. Murphy finished the season with a mark of 9-8, including clutch wins over Harvard and Rochester.
*Other notable returners for the Quakers include sophomores Jonathan Zeitels and Karim Hussein, who each put together breakout rookie seasons. Zeitels ranked second on the team with an overall record of 13-2 and a conference mark of 6-1. Hussein finished 2015-16 with a tally of 9-7, including a 5-2 record in the Ivy League.
*The Quakers welcome a pair of newcomers to the squad in Wil Hagen and David Yacobucci. Hagen hails from Princeton, N.J., while Yacobucci comes to Penn from Greenwich, Conn. Both freshmen picked up wins at the Ivy League scrimmages last weekend.
*Speaking of the Ivy League scrimmages, the Quakers went 1-2 at the pre-season event held at Yale on Nov. 12-13. Penn began the weekend with a 5-4 triumph over Princeton before falling to Yale (7-2) and Harvard (6-3). Lemmon served as the hero against the Tigers, capping off a thrilling victory with a 3-2 win at No. 8, including a 14-12 triumph in the fifth game.
Penn holds a 4-1 all-time edge over George Washington, including a 3-0 record at home. The Red and Blue defeated the Colonials last season by a score of 8-1. Virginia and Penn have never met on the squash court.
Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the Quakers will enjoy three straight road contests. Penn will head to Drexel on Nov. 30, Rochester on Dec. 3 and St. Lawrence on Dec. 4.