When the men’s squash team begins its regular season match play this weekend, hosting the Quakers of the University of Pennsylvania and Western Ontario, a more experienced squad will take the court. In his fourth season at the helm, head coach Scott Stoneburgh has expressed his enthusiasm and optimism about the upcoming season.
“I am excited and have high expectations for our team. We have been working hard, and I’ve seen some great improvement,” Stoneburgh said.
The Red boasts 13 returning players, which will allow it to pick up from where it left off last season. Cornell finished sixth in the nation and is determined to rise in the rankings. It fell to Williams College in the final round of the NISRA Championship last season, but that is all history and Cornell is ready to begin a new run in 2000-2001.
Returning junior Jeff Porter will once again captain the Red. At 5-11, 185 lbs., Porter is a presence on the court. His great awareness of the game and his racquet abilities put immense pressure on his opponents.
“[Porter] keeps everyone pushing forward and has excellent leadership qualities. He leads by example,” Stoneburgh praised.
Since Stoneburgh has expressed the priority this season as “avoiding injury at all costs,” remaining healthy and performing to the level the team is accustomed to is the equation for success.
Almost every contest on the Red’s schedule poses an intense challenge, since many of the best teams of the nation reside in the Ivy League. Schools such as Trinity College, Williams College, and Western Ontario, all of which Cornell will face, are also extremely competitive.
During the off-season the Red has done a considerable amount of work focusing on strength and conditioning. So far, Stoneburgh has been pleased with the practices and believes that the team is playing solid squash.
“I have seen noticeable differences, truly big strides,” he said, regarding the Red’s performance thus far.
The women’s squash team will be guided by second-year head coach Beverly Tunnicliffe, who had an impressive career as a squash player at the University of Waterloo and a long-time coaching career at Saskatchewan.
In her inagural year as head coach, Tunnicliffe helped the Red to fifth place at the Howe Cup.
The Red is headed by returning senior Olga Puigdemont-Sola. Last season, Puigdemont-Sola was named to the Women’s Intercollegiate Squash Association All-American Team, improving her career record to 49-14. Her powerful and physically draining play has given her national recognition as she is currently ranked No. 5 among women’s squash players in the nation.
Two additional seniors join Puigdemont-Sola on the roster: Andrea McNeely and Melinda Lee. Their experience in intercollegiate play as well as their leadership abilities will help guide the Red through its campaign.
The Red will begin its regular season campaign this weekend, hosting the University of Pennsylvania at Cornell’s new Belkin Courts.
Archived article by Andrew Knauer