February 25, 2003

Men's Squash Places Fifth at Championships

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The men’s squash team ended its regular season this past weekend at the Intercollegiate Squash Championships, held jointly at the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University. Seeded sixth for the tournament, the Red was able to better its ranking and finish the weekend as the fifth best squash team in North America. This is the highest that a Cornell squash team has ever been ranked.

“They played fantastic squash this weekend, coming out with that ranking,” said coach Scott Stoneburgh.

Cornell began the draw on Friday, battling Yale on the Penn courts. Ranked third and confident from a victory over the Red in the regular season, the Bulldogs proved too tough for the Cornell men, who fell 7-2. One of those two Cornell victories belonged to freshman sensation Matt Serediak, who has been playing at the No. 1 position for the Red this season. Serediak defeated Yale freshman Julian Illingsworth, the third-ranked player in the nation.

“I lost to Julian at a tournament in Virginia, I lost to him in India at the [Junior Squash World Championships], I lost to him during the regular season,” said Serediak. “This time, I was able to dictate the pace and movement of the match; I was in control.”

“The kid is sick; he’s just a nasty player,” said senior Kenny Greer of Serediak, who may be ranked as high as third for the Individual National Championships starting Feb. 28.

The Red traveled to Princeton on Saturday looking to rebound against Penn, ranked seventh. The final score appeared as a 7-2 victory for Cornell, but the numbers do not do justice to the play of the Quakers.

“We’re the stronger team on paper, but Penn wasn’t paying attention; four of the matches went to five games,” said Stoneburgh.

“The Penn match was balanced on just a few points,” said Greer. “It could have gone either way.”

The victory over Penn advanced Cornell to the final bracket on Sunday at Princeton, where it played the University of Western Ontario for fifth place. The Red lost a close match 5-4 to UWO over winter break; revenge could not have come at a better time for the Red than in the championship tournament. The matches were again close, but the superior strength and fitness of the Cornell players allowed them to come away with a 6-3 victory and the No. 5 ranking.

Cornell finishes the season ranked behind only Trinity, Princeton, Harvard, and Yale. The results from this year speak volumes about the program, which has shown steady improvement under the guidance of head coach Scott Stoneburgh. With lots of young talent returning next year, the future looks bright for the Red.

“I’m glad we did well; it’s a good way to go out,” said Greer after playing his final collegiate match. “I’m very proud of Cornell squash.”

Archived article by Per Ostman