Even as classes wind down and temperatures start to drop, there is excitement and anticipation surrounding the start of every squash season. Yet, expectations build even higher with the presence of a coach brand new to the University.
Throw in the fact that both Mark and Julee Devoy, the coaches for the men’s and women’s squash teams, respectively, arrived in Ithaca on Tuesday with a library of knowledge and a desire to get to know the college game.
“It’s great to see the overall positive attitude now,” Julee Devoy said. “The first priority though is getting to [personally] know all the girls and see their level of skill on the court.”
The men’s team looks to improve on last year’s 8-7 finish and its 0-3 record at the College Squash Association Championships. The Red’s chances of duplicating that success looks good, as the team returns its entire roster from last year. By bringing back all but one starter and adding three additional freshman, the Red seems poised to make another run at the nation’s top ranking.
“Right now we are looking to make the whole team work as a unit,” Mark Devoy said. “At the same time, we are planning on being a few spots higher in the rankings by the end of the year.”
On the individual side, the Red enters the new season with numerous strong competitors among its nine-man roster. Among them is All-Ivy and All-American junior Matt Serediak.
After a strenuous off-season working with professional squashers, Serediak returns to the Red’s number-one spot looking to improve on last year’s 11-5 record.
“I feel ready to establish myself as a major contender in the league,” Serediak said. “Ideally I plan on being ranked in the top eight by the end of the year.”
After a strong showing at the 2004 College Squash Association Individual Championships (CISA), senior Mike Delany should also play a large part in the Red’s success this season.
Delany enters this season fresh off an 14-4 record last year and an unexpected semi-finals appearance after stringing together an impressive series of upsets.
Also looking to continue momentum from the tournament into this season are juniors Matt Greenberg and Ben Bernstein, who each advanced to the round of 16.
The women’s side also looks to improve on last season.
“We want to build a technically sound and consistently hard-working team,” Julie Devoy said. “If we build strength and depth overall, [the girls] are going to go a long way towards regaining a few spots in the rankings.
The Red gained a wealth of experience from last season’s 5-10 finish and heads into this year with momentum from a 2-1 showing at the season-ending WISA Kurtz Cup. The team’s year-end success propelled the Red to an 11th place finish at the tournament.
The women’s team will meet Penn and Princeton this weekend.