The No. 12 men’s squash team (7-10, 1-5 Ivy) swept a four-game homestand this weekend, punctuated by critical wins over rivals Navy and Brown. The women’s team (7-8, 0-6), meanwhile, finished 2-1 on the weekend, but lost its pivotal matchup with the Bears, 7-2.
The men opened the weekend on Saturday with a 5-4 victory over the No. 11 Midshipmen (21-7), the team immediately ahead of the Red in the national rankings.
With its No. 2 Steven Peever held out of the match with a pulled muscle, the Red’s newly-formed top-2 players picked up two wins.
[img_assist|nid=21292|title=Game Time|desc=Junior Omar Mangalji prepares to serve in the Red’s losses to Harvard, 9-0, and Western Ontario, 6-3, on Dec. 3.|link=none|align=left|width=67|height=100]
Freshman Chris Sachvie, the Red’s No. 1 player, returned from a slew of injuries and a bout with mononucleosis to post a 3-0 victory over Navy’s junior Tucker George.
Senior captain Rohit Gupta, No. 2, continued his strong play of this season with a 3-0 win. Junior Mike Gelinas, freshman Chris Vernick and classmate Ian Holton were other winners for the Red.
“We really stepped it up this week,” Sachvie said. “We’re really happy beating Navy without one of our best players. … I think we’ll have him back for National’s [next week].”
After an easy win over Hobart, the Red again took the court yesterday morning for a matchup with Ivy League foe No. 10 Brown (2-9, 0-6).
“It was very tough playing twice-a-day, and for two straight days,” Sachvie said. “But I still thought we played very well.”
Sachvie again gave the Red a victory in a 5-4 win, outlasting Brown senior Dan Petrie in four games. He was able to out-hustle and fatigue his opponent with a deliberate, methodical style of play, convincingly taking the final two sets, 9-2 and 9-3.
“Fitness is really 50 percent of the battle in squash,” Sachvie said. “I was able to play my type of game, with long points, to try to eventually wear him down.”
The veteran Gupta again provided support at the top of the lineup, winning the final home match of his career, 3-1.
“Everyone knew it was a big match,” Sachvie said. “Our team is really peaking after a lot of our guys have been injured. … We are getting much stronger mentally [with each close match].”
The men’s team capped off its weekend with a 7-2 win over Tufts.
For the women’s squad, however, the weekend was a disappointment. Despite early wins over Tufts and William Smith, the Red could not overpower Brown (5-7, 1-5) in a match it had been anticipating for weeks.
The Bears beat the Red, 7-2, with No. 3 freshman Liza Stokes and No. 4 sophomore Alex Cornett providing the only wins.
The result came after an 8-1 Cornell win over Brown in the preseason three months ago.
“They were missing several players in our last meeting,” said No. 1 sophomore Maxi Prinsen, who lost her match in five games. “It is really upsetting and we all could have done better, but they genuinely outplayed us.”
Prinsen noted that the only thing the Red can do to improve before National’s next weekend is to improve its fitness by running.