February 25, 2005

NISRA's Await Squash

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As the Cornell men’s squash team heads out to Boston this weekend to participate in the NISRA Championships, the Red will be riding a wave of momentum, having won five out of its last six matches. However, the team must play its first match today against No. 2 Harvard — a team that has lost only once all season.

“Unfortunately we got stuck with a tough draw and we will have our hands full with [Harvard],” said junior Matt Serediak. “If we upset them, it will be tremendous, but the chances of that are not too favorable.”

The Red enters the tournament ranked seventh nationally, which is good enough to earn a spot in the Potter Division, the bracket representing the top eight teams nation-wide. It was not good enough, however, to escape a meeting with one of the sport’s elite programs.

“We’re entering with our minds on the job and the focus is right where we need it,” said head coach Mark Devoy. “Unfortunately [against Harvard] we will just have to wait and see.”

This will be the Red’s second meeting with the Crimson, the first having taken place last winter. That match’s result — a 9-0 defeat — does not bode well for the Red’s chances and has it pondering a meeting with Western Ontario in the consolation bracket.

“We lost to [Western Ontario] 6-3 during the year and I really felt we could’ve won the match,” Serediak said. “That will be a huge match for us and we are all really excited for the prospect.”

One of the Red’s key performers in that early season match was No. 2 starter, junior William Cheng, who won his match in four sets. With a 9-3 record on the year, Cheng has been one of the Red’s most consistent performers and looks to continue his success into this weekend.

“Realistically, we’re looking for the fifth spot,” said Cheng. “That would be a great result because it has been a few years since we finished that high.”

Not only does the Red have to worry about the prospect of facing two higher-ranked opponents, it also must contend with recent injuries and a week of sleep deprivation due to the start of prelims.

“We were a bit shaky at the beginning of the week,” Devoy said. “[The exams] certainly were not conducive to the big-match mindset, but by the end of the week everyone was going strong.”

On the injury front, Serediak, the Red’s No. 1 starter, enters tournament play nursing an ankle injury, as does junior Matt Greenberg — the Red’s No. 4 starter.

“We only have two injuries right now, so we are getting healthy again,” said Serediak. “Everyone has been working hard and it will be a tough weekend, but we are looking forward to it.”

No matter how the Red fares today, they are guaranteed another match tomorrow with hopes of playing on Sunday with fifth-place on the line.

Archived article by Matt Gorman
Sun Staff Writer