Men's Squash Opens Season with Western Ontario and Cornell

PHILADELPHIA - The Penn men's squash team opens the 2009-10 season Saturday in Ithaca, N.Y. with matches against Western Ontario at 10 a.m. and Ivy foe Cornell at 2 p.m. The Quakers are ranked seventh in the College Squash Associations' preseason poll.

Penn looks to build on last year's 8-8 overall record with help from sophomores Thomas Mattson and Trevor McGuinness. The two represented Penn at the CSA individuals last season and start the season ranked 18th and 30th respectively. Senior captain Mark Froot, along with juniors James Clark, Porter Drake, and William Browne also return as consistent contributors in the ladder.

Freshmen Dan Greenburg and Zuhaib Mohiuddin will be expected to make an immediate impact in their first matches as Greenburg will play in the No. 2 spot.

Western Ontario comes into the weekend ranked tenth by the CSA with three wins already under its belt. Penn will have to recover quickly from its match with the Mustangs and turn right around to play sixth ranked Cornell in the afternoon. Penn fell to the Big Red 8-1 last season when they faced Cornell in the opener as well. The Big Red has all 11 players back from last season's team with Chris Sachvie as the squad's top ranked returning player, standing 14th in the nation.

Quoting Coach Thorpe-Clark:

What are your overall goals and expectations for the 2009-10 season?

To train, compete and perform at out best, and to work harder and smarter to meet the challenges of an ever improving league. We are working hard to improve individually and as a team. Realistically we should move up a spot or two, but we must do the right things on a daily basis in practice to give us the best chance to win.

Looking at your opponents, how do you think Penn stacks up to the competition this year? What will be the keys to a successful season?

This year the competition is very even. The top 10 teams will be having some very close and well contested matches. The new scoring system "PAR" may also affect how some teams play, so I expect to see some upsets this season. On any given day either team could win. This will be an exciting season. The league usually has the deepest and strongest teams in the CSA, so they are our main priorities and we look to peak for those matches individually and as a team.

You have a strong group of returners, including four players ranked in the CSA's top 100. What kind of offseason work have they done to further improve their game?

This year the team had some specific conditioning tests and requirements. They were implemented to improve cardiovascular conditioning, strength and overall endurance. Passing the tests is a requirement to play on the team. This helps ensure the team is at, or all near the same level when they return to campus.

How do you expect your newcomers to impact the team's success this year?

The freshmen have already made an impact. They have worked very hard in preseason training and have brought enthusiasm and a high level of commitment to the team. Their attitude on and off the court has been exemplary.