November 17, 2000

Squashers Challenge Pennsylvania, Princeton

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Cornell men’s and women’s squash teams kick off their regular season schedules tomorrow at Pennsylvania, then travel to New Jersey, to face the Tigers on Sunday.

Two weeks ago, the men’s team got a preview of some of the top teams in the Ivy League — Yale, Brown, and Penn — at the Ivy Scrimmages in New Haven, Conn. Cornell defeated Brown and Penn, 8-1 and 7-2 respectively, but lost to Yale by a misleading score of 8-1.

“Both were very decisive victories, and it was exciting to see that we really pushed Yale,” coach Scott Stoneburgh said after the matches.

Since Princeton is always atop the Ivy League, a win is unlikely. But if the Red puts up the numbers and plays like they did against Yale two weeks ago, it would be a real confidence boost for a team that is fighting for respect in the league. The team expects to defeat Penn.

The women’s team had its Ivy Scrimmages last weekend in the Belkin International Squash Courts. The Red won two key matches against Ivy rivals Yale (7-2) and Brown (6-3), but fell to Princeton (4-5).

“We played very competitively. The Princeton match was really close, which is a hugh accomplishment for us,” senior co-captain Megan Schwartz said.

Yet Cornell will be without its star player this weekend. Junior Olga Puidgemont-Sola will be playing for the Spanish national team at the World Squash Championships in London.

These matches are going to be tough ones for the Red, and especially with Puidgemont-Sola out, each player is going to have to step up. “Our [only] freshman, Lisa Marx, is playing very well. We need everyone to step up this weekend, these are going to be tough matches,” junior Andrea McNeely said.

The women’s team is working with a new coach this year. Beverly Tunnicliffe, after serving as the executive director of Saskatchewan Squash Inc., joined the Red for the 2000-2001 season. “She has made a huge difference, and is very enthusiastic. She has focused on serve return strategies and the mental game,” McNeely said.

The Red cannot afford to take any team in the Ivy League lightly, and these matches will set the tone for the rest of the season. “We have nothing to lose,” senior co-captain Kate Lytle said. “Two wins this weekend could show the intercollegiate community that we are for real.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams return home in two weeks to face their perennially tough counterparts from Harvard.

Archived article by Josh Vlasto