Cornell squash opens its Ivy League season this weekend in New York City, with the men and women traveling downstate to face Columbia University on December 2nd. Three weekends ago, the women handily defeated the Lions, 8-1, at Ivy League scrimmages, and are hoping for a similar outcome on Saturday.
“We’ll definitely have some confidence coming off of our win at Ivy scrimmages, but they’re still in the Ivy League and a top team,” said senior co-captain Maggie Remsen. “We’re going to go out there and give it our best.”
Playing against a lower ranked opponent can be difficult — the Lions are ranked No. 13 nationally, while Cornell holds the No. 6 spot — but Remsen is certain that if the Red maintains the same level of play it did at Ivy scrimmages and at the Cornell Round Robin, the squad should come out on top.
“I think the team just has to play well, [but be aware that you’re] playing a different game than your own when you’re playing a lower ranked team,” Remsen said. “As long as everyone sticks to their game plan and the way they play normally, just playing consistently… we’ll be fine.”
The men’s team did not play against Columbia at Ivy scrimmages — It faced Penn, Harvard and Princeton — but the Red did have a chance to watch its opponents, who also rank below the squad. Though Cornell’s No. 4 national seeding should give them an edge over the tenth-seeded Lions, senior co-captain Owen Butler stressed the importance of staying focused in order to maintain the upper hand.
“We have a target now on our back — they’re behind us, and they’re coming after us,” he said. “At the same time, we have to stay confident. We’re a better team … so we have to go in there with a positive attitude and mindset, knowing that we can take them down and we can beat them. There’s a reason why we’re ranked ahead of them.”
In order to ensure a win this weekend, Butler mentioned that the squad’s newest members will have to continue to perform like they did at the Cornell Round Robin two weekends ago.
“I think we’re definitely going to have to win in the middle and have good, strong performances from our freshmen. They played ridiculously well over our past matches against Western, and they just need to keep up that strong performance,” Butler said. “I think we’re pretty confident with the guys we have up top, with a lot of the older seniors, and [sophomore] Aditya [Jagtap]. It’s those freshmen, like Graham Dietz and Abhijit Malik, who both stepped up the past couple weekends and definitely need to step up this weekend too. If they get the wins for us, we can take down a lot of teams.”
This weekend will serve as the first official away match for the freshmen, which Butler acknowledged is sometimes a difficult transition. At the same time, he asserted that the Red is ready and determined to earn a win against the Lions.
“I think it’s tough playing any road matches, so for the young guys it’s nice getting some experience playing on the road and playing on courts that they’re not used to,” Butler said. “Other than that, apart from getting experience, we just mainly want to win. We want to pound them into the ground. These guys aren’t going to be too easy, so if we come out there with a confident attitude, we should beat them, for sure.”