Winner takes all. It is that time of year again for the Cornell women’s and men’s squash teams: the postseason. Both teams secured spots into Nationals following impressive seasons.
The eighth-ranked women’s team finished the season at 9-7, losing its last match to No. 2 Penn in a 9-0 decision. Despite the loss, the team will still enter Nationals.
The 12th ranked men’s team were able to get some revenge for the women’s team, with a close 5-4 upset over Penn. With this win, the team could possibly be placed as a top seed in the Hoehn Cup or could be catapulted to the A Division and manage to secure a spot in the Potter Cup. In a hard-fought seasons, the two teams have been able earn their rewards and are now fighting for the top prize
“This past weekend we showed what we are capable of playing at the highest level in college squash by beating UPenn, who was ranked third in the nation.” said senior captain Graham Dietz. “We’ve won four matches in a row, and just beat one of the best teams in the nation so we are very confident. We know we need to continue to work hard to reach our goal.”
The women’s team feels fully prepared for the road ahead.
“We can be very competitive when we bring a lot of energy to each match and focus on one game at a time. Our main competitors this season are Columbia and Stanford and we were able to play well against both teams,” said senior captain Olivia Wherry. “If we bring our confidence and determination with us we can work even harder to become stronger and beat them at Nationals. We have what it takes to beat both teams, we just need to believe it and fight for every point.”
Both teams plan on taking the lessons from the regular season with them to the big stage.
“When we hit good length in a rally our competitors often make mistakes,” Wherry said. “So our goal is to focus on keeping the ball tight and deep, forcing our opponents to make mistakes. We also need to run after every ball because, in the words of our coach, Julee, ‘the rally is never over until it’s over.’ ”
Both teams have fought hard against top seeds all season long but the postseason will be a new experience for the young teams.
“We have a young but very competitive team. We need to work hard in the postseason to give us confidence as we move forward,” Wherry said. “As a graduating senior, it is important to keep up the strong work ethic in order to help the team as they move towards accomplishing next season’s goals.”
But despite the novelty of the experience, both teams are looking to build and develop their programs from the experience of postseason. They know what is at stake and look to further advance themselves by standing tall as a unit.
When asked what was the biggest lesson he and his teammates took away from their long hard fought season, Dietz offered a simple set of words: “play as a team and for each other.”