Dec. 5, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The 18-2 Navy squash team returns to action on Thursday, making its way to Philadelphia in search of its first win over Penn since 2001. The 17th-ranked Mids and the No. 14 Quakers will battle one another at the Ringe Courts on the campus of Penn beginning at 5:00 pm. Navy will also face 24th-ranked Drexel in Philly on Friday at the Kline & Specter Squash Center beginning at 4:00 pm.
The Midshipmen opened their season by winning 15 in a row before suffering their first setback of the 2012-13 campaign, a 5-4 decision to 15th-ranked Bates at home. Last weekend Navy bounced back by taking three of its four matches, including a solid 8-1 victory over 13th-ranked Middlebury in Vermont. The Mids’ lone loss of the weekend was to an eighth-ranked Dartmouth squad that dealt Navy a 6-3 loss in New Hampshire.
Rookie Mitch Bottini (New Hamburg, N.Y.) leads Navy with a flawless 20-0 record, playing predominantly at the No. 9 slot for the Mids. It’s an impressive feat considering a year ago only two Navy players reached the 20-win milestone. Fellow freshman Bill Kacergis (Malvern, Pa.) is just a win behind with a 19-1 record, as is sophomore Andrew McGuinness (Merion Station, Pa.) who moved into the No. 1 slot last weekend. McGuinness was Navy’s No. 1 player all of last season and played his first 15 matches of the 2012-13 season at the No. 2 position. Last weekend he put together a 3-1 record with his lone loss a three-game decision to All-American Chris Hanson of Dartmouth.
Seniors Hunter Bouchard (Greenville, Del.) and John Richey (West Hartford, Conn.), along with sophomore Hunter Abrams (Wilmington, Del.) have each won 18 matches this season. Abrams, the Mids’ No. 3 player, has lost just once in 2012, a five-game heartbreaker to Bates’ R.J. Keating. He has won four straight, including a strong showing against Dartmouth’s Chris Jung in three games.
Bouchard has maintained the No. 4 slot and is undefeated this season with an 18-0 mark. Fifteen of his 18 wins have been sweeps, but his most impressive win was a five-gamer against Middlebury’s Andrew Jung last Friday on the road.
Richey, who is the winningest active player on the roster with an 86-25 career mark, stands 18-2 this seasons. His two losses this season have come at the hands of Bates and Dartmouth, dropping a five-gamer to Bates’ Filip Michalsky after taking a 2-0 lead. Richey is just four wins shy of becoming just the third player during Craig Dawson’s 13-year coaching career to reach 90 wins.
While the Mids enter Thursday evening’s match with an 18-2 record, Penn has seen action in just four matches to date. The 2-2 Quakers have wins over Bates (5-4) and Drexel (6-3) and tough losses to George Washington (5-4) and Williams (5-4).
Playing to the No. 1 position for Penn is senior Danny Greenberg, whose individual record matches that of the team’s at 2-2. The opponents have gotten the best of the No. 2, 3 and 4 spots on the Quakers’ lineup with the three spots recording a combined 3-9 record.
Thursday’s matchup marks the 71st meeting between the two programs with Penn holding a convincing 43-27 advantage in a series that began in 1949 with Navy taking an 8-1 victory in the inaugural match. The Mids have lost 12 in a row to Penn, last winning on Jan. 17, 2001 on a 6-3 decision in Philadelphia. The Mids narrowly lost last year’s match in Annapolis, 5-4.
Drexel, which owns a 2-6 record, has struggled in the early part of its season, but has played a difficult schedule. The Dragons have played six teams in the top 15 and three in the top seven to date. Their lone wins of the season are a 9-0 victory over 26th-ranked Connecticut College and a 6-3 decision over No. 22 Amherst. They came up just short against No. 13 Middlebury in a 5-4 loss and played a solid match against Penn, losing 6-3.
Navy is 2-0 against the Dragons all time, which includes an 8-1 win in last year’s matchup in Annapolis.
### Go Navy ###