PHILADELPHIA – A new beginning. The University of Pennsylvania women’s squash team will kick off its 2016-17 season this Saturday, as they host Virginia and George Washington at the Ringe Squash Courts. The Quakers, who enter the season ranked No. 2 in the Dunlop Women's College Squash Association Poll, haven’t began a new campaign at home since 2013.
*The Quakers tallied a 14-2 overall record a year ago (6-1 in the Ivy League), and were a just a single game away from winning the CSA National Championship. Each of Penn’s losses came to Harvard, including a heartbreaking 5-4 loss in the final match of the Howe Cup.
*The Red and Blue return six from last year’s starting lineup, including their No. 1 singles player, Reeham Salah. Salah has already shown to be in mid-season form, defeating Harvard’s Sabrina Sobhy—an opponent she lost to twice last season—at the pre-season Ivy League scrimmages last weekend at Yale.
*Salah went 12-3 in the top slot last year en route to being named first-team CSA All-America and first-team All-Ivy. The sophomore finished the season ranked No. 2 in the CSA individual rankings.
*Other notable players back for the Red and Blue include Anaka Alankamony and Marie Stephan. Stephan completed an unblemished 16-0 run last season, while Alankamony recorded a mark of 14-2 at pretty much every position at the top half of the lineup.
*Penn will also enjoy the return of junior captain, Melissa Alves, who missed the final 12 matches of last season due to injury. Alves was spectacular as a freshman, putting together a 15-2 record in the No. 3 and No. 4 positions.
*The Quakers’ other captain this season is Grace Van Arkel, who will look to build off her 14-2 season from 2015-16. The senior has 33 career wins to her name, including 25 triumphs over the last two seasons.
The Red and Blue have had great success against George Washington over the years, entering Saturday with a perfect 9-0 record against the Colonials. Penn’s string of dominance includes a 4-0 mark inside the Ringe Squash Courts. Last year, the Quakers tallied a 9-0 victory over George Washington on the road.
Penn and Virginia have never met on the squash courts.
The Quakers will have about six weeks off before hosting Dartmouth and Trinity and Jan. 15-16.