PHILADELPHIA The Penn men’s squash team starts its 2008-09 campaign this weekend with matches against Cornell on Saturday at 11 a.m. followed by Middlebury at 4 p.m. The Quakers begin the season ranked No. 7 in the CSA preseason poll.
The team is returning many players this season, in addition to several new faces. The Red and Blue are led by senior co-captains Joey Raho and Parker Justi. Raho will be a vital component to Penn’s success. He finished 8-5 overall and won six consecutive matches between 12/1 and 1/25, shoring up the middle of the lineup at Nos. 5 and 6. Justi is currently out due to injury, but the team will look to him for senior guidance until he is back later in the season.
The team will look to replace Lee Rosen who was second-team All-America and first-team All-Ivy playing from the top spot in the ladder. Junior Mark Froot will be the likely candidate to fill the position. Froot compiled a 5-6 overall record playing at the Nos. 2 and 3 positions last season. He went 2-1 at the CSA Team Championships and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Malloy Division at the CSA Individual Championships.
Returning senior Andrew Zimmerman, along with sophomores James Clark, William Browne and Porter Drake will make significant contributions to the middle of the lineup. Zimmerman finished last season with a 7-5 overall record, 2-3 in the Ivy League. Clark played much of last season at the No. 4 position and finished with a team-best 9-2 overall record, 4-1 in Ivy play. He did not suffer a collegiate loss until Jan. 25 against No. 1 Trinity. Browne went 4-2 overall, 2-0 in the Ivy League, while Drake was 4-2 overall and advanced to the Round of 16 of the Molloy Division at the CSA Individual Championships.
Freshmen Trevor McGuinness and Thomas Mattsson will be looking to play matches in the top spots for the Red and Blue, while returning players Nick Malinowski, Chris Thompson and Jay Bhagat will add depth to the ladder.
First-up for Penn on Saturday is Cornell this is also the Big Red’s first match of the regular season. Cornell beat out Penn for the No. 6 CSA preseason ranking and during the Ivy League scrimmages in New Haven, Conn., the Big Red handed the Quakers a 7-2 loss. Penn’s No. 1 will most likely face Cornell’s Chris Sachvie who is ranked No. 14 in the preseason CSA individual poll.
Following the morning match, Penn will host Middlebury on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers already have one win on their schedule, a 6-3 victory over Hamilton. Middlebury will make stops at Columbia on Friday evening and Haverford Saturday morning before arriving at Ringe Courts.