January 25, 2008

Squash Looks to Make Elite Eight

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The Potter Division — squash’s nifty nickname for its Elite Eight. The goal has been the same since October — to end the year in this group, the top-8 college teams in the nation. All of which makes the men’s squash team’s trip to New England this weekend that much more crucial. The men’s team will square off against No. 11 Amherst today, No. 7 Dartmouth tomorrow and No. 5 Williams on Sunday. Meanwhile, the women will try to snap their two-game losing streak as they travel to face the same three squads as the men.
Recently, the men moved into the coveted top-8 in the country, being ranked No. 7 as of last week. Maintaining top-8 in ‘08 hasn’t always proven easy, though. Losses to No. 12 Bates and highly regarded Yale may cause a future drop in the rankings. With only three regular season matches left before the National championships, the Red must make its move soon. Men’s and women’s head coach Mark Devoy emphasized the difficulty of the remaining schedule, however.
“Our biggest matches are still to come,” Devoy said.
On a more positive note for Cornell, Dartmouth beat Williams, 7-2, a few days ago, and Cornell trumped Dartmouth, 5-4, in a scrimmage on Nov. 11.
The women will face much of the same difficulties, too. Despite its 2-5 record after losses to Yale and Brown last weekend, one place the Red has had success is on the road. Both victories have come away from East Hill. As a result, the squad has an optimistic outlook for the rest of the year.
“We feel confident that we will match up very competitively with the remaining teams this season,” said senior captain Mairin Barnes.
The Collegiate Squash Association’s Women Ranking Committee selected five athletes from the women’s squad for its individual women’s rankings on Jan. 10 — Jennifer Gemmell (31), Rachel Wagner (46), Liza Stokes (49), Mairin Barnes (57) and Annie Ritter (61). Dartmouth, however, has five of its own players in the rankings, while Williams has four. Similar to the men’s teams, the women’s team shares the goal of cracking the top-8.