December 1, 2006

Squash Set for Home Matches

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The men’s and women’s squash teams will host home matches tomorrow, looking to push their records back over the .500 mark. The men will face Harvard and Western Ontario, while the women’s team will take on Harvard and Stanford.

The men’s team (1-2, 0-2 Ivy) will have its work cut out for it against the Crimson. Harvard (3-0, 2-0), one of the top squash teams in the nation, has not yet surrendered a single match in its undefeated start.

Western Ontario, however, may present a much better matchup for the Red. Typically a strong team, the Mustangs have not yet played a match this year.

“I expect a reasonably close match,” said men’s head coach Mark Devoy. “But you never know which Western Ontario team is going to show up. … They are strong on paper.”

The Red’s fate will hinge on the top of the lineup, led by freshman Chris Sachvie, senior captain Rohit Gupta, and freshman Steven Peever.

“We probably need to get some wins at the top in order to win,” said Devoy. “They have more depth than we do, so if we win one at the top we may be able to steal a couple on the bottom of the lineup.”

Sachvie, the Red’s No. 1 player, has performed well thus far in his rookie year. He has already shown that he is one of the team’s grittiest players, clawing his way back from an 8-1 deficit to nearly win a set against fellow Ivy powerhouse Penn two weeks ago.

“I feel like my game has improved since the start of the season,” said Sachvie.

Another freshman, Chris Vernick, will make his first start of the year this weekend due to injury. Vernick’s arrival will add depth to Cornell’s lineup, which will be relying heavily on freshman this season.

The women’s team (1-2, 0-2) faces a similar challenge this weekend. Harvard and Stanford are two of the teams in the nation, possessing depth from the top to the bottom of their lineup.

The Stanford match will mark the Red’s first official meeting with the Cardinal, which moved up to the varsity level in squash just this season. Its top spot, however, is held by a familiar foe—Harvard’s former No. 1 and last year’s national champion, Lily Lorentzen.

“The game plan will vary with each player, but we’re just going to try to play our hardest out there,” said head coach Julee Devoy.

Top player sophomore Maxi Prinsen will look to feed off the energy of the crowd, capitalizing on Cornell’s home court advantage.

“I can’t wait. … We’re going to have a lot of fans and I always play better in front of a crowd,” said Prinsen. “Call me crazy, but I love pressure.”

The Red will be hurt by the absence its third and fourth ranked players, freshmen Annie Ritter and Liza Stokes. Ritter has a case of mononucleosis,
while Stokes underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Monday.

Due to the injuries, the women’s squash team will turn to varsity tennis team starter Catherine Duboc, a sophomore, to suit up for the Red at the No. 9 spot. Duboc’s sister, Audrey, plays fourth for Harvard’s squash team.
The Red will be playing both matches on Saturday.