PHILADELPHIA – Working its way to its second consecutive College Squash Association Potter Cup berth, the University of Pennsylvania men’s squash team is preparing for the CSA team national championships this weekend at Trinity College.
The three-day tournament runs Feb. 20-22, with the eighth-ranked Quakers (8-6) playing for a chance to win a national championship in the top-flight Potter Cup.
Penn is making back-to-back appearances in the Potter Cup for the first time since 2008 and 2009. The Quakers will face No. 1 ranked, and host, Trinity (17-1) in the first round of the tournament. The two teams faced off in the regular season, with the Bantams defeating Penn, 7-2.
For information throughout the weekend, visit the CSA website for frequent updates related to the tournament, by clicking here.
Fans can follow the Penn men’s team action on Twitter – @PennSquash.
TEAMS COMPETING FOR THE POTTER CUP: Hosting and ranked No. 1 is Trinity (17-1), followed by second-ranked St. Lawrence (13-1), No. 3 Harvard (8-3), and fourth-ranked Columbia (12-2). In the fifth spot is Yale (10-4), while Rochester (10-4) is ranked sixth, Franklin & Marshall (13-6) seventh, and the Quakers eighth. Penn has played every team but Rochester and St. Lawrence in the top eight, posting a 0-5 record against those schools in regular season play.
QUAKERS LAST YEAR IN THE POTTER CUP: In 2014, Penn returned to the Potter Cup for the first time since the 2008-09 season. In their return, the Quakers came in as the No. 8 team and finished in the same position. Penn fell to No. 1 Harvard in the first round, followed by a loss to St. Lawrence in the consolation round. Rochester defeated Penn in the 7/8 game.
FRESHMEN HELP PROPEL PENN: Playing primarily in the No. 1-5 positions all season long, freshmen Marwan Mahmoud, Derek Hsue, Hayes Murphy, Anders Larson, and James Watson have compiled a 44-25 overall record this season. Playing No. 1 has been Mahmoud, who finished the regular season with a 10-4 record, while Watson has posted an 11-3 record playing primarily in the No. 4 and 5 positions on the ladder.
MIXED WITH EXPERIENCE: The five freshmen have bolstered the Quakers ladder, but the combination of youth and experience has helped Penn in the long run. Juniors Augie Frank and Tyler Odell, along with sophomores George Lemmon and Rahil Fazelbhoy have shown the younger players how to win tough matches. Frank posted a 10-4 record playing anywhere from No. 5-8, while Odell finished with a 9-2 record in the No. 8-10 positions. Fazelbhoy added seven wins to the mix, while Lemmon added six. Not to be left out, is the leadership from senior co-captains Jack Maine and Michael Mutscheller, who played critical roles in helping the Quakers reach the Potter Cup a season ago, and have guided the team this season.
HOW THE QUAKERS FINISHED NO. 8: The clincher for the Quakers was their 8-1 victory over Cornell in the final weekend of the regular season. The Big Red went on to beat Princeton the following day, 5-4. The Tigers had defeated Penn, 5-4, earlier in the season. From the CSA: The 8 through 11 positions were affected by last weekend’s matches. Penn and Princeton each faced Cornell. Penn defeated the Big Red, 8-1, while Princeton lost to Cornell 4-5. This also created a ranking triangle between Cornell, Dartmouth, and Princeton. Princeton won the triangle, followed by Cornell. Penn moves into the 8th position, followed by Princeton, Cornell, and Dartmouth.