February 5, 2008

Squash Blanks Opponents

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Perfection was the word on everyone’s minds this weekend with the Patriots attempting to complete the first undefeated season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins. And while that goal fell through on Sunday night, two other teams realized perfection this weekend, albeit on a slightly smaller scale. Both the Cornell men’s and women’s squash teams blanked all of their opponents Saturday during the final home match of the season.
The men’s squashers defeated both St. Lawrence and Franklin and Marshall 9-0 at the Reis Tennis Center. St. Lawrence was completely overwhelmed by Cornell (7-7, 2-4 Ivy) which won 30 out of the 32 games played. Franklin and Marshall did not fare much better than St. Lawrence, winning just 3 out of 33 games. Sophomore Chris Sachvie recorded his third consecutive shutout at the No. 1 spot, and Steve Peever and Will Hartigan demonstrated their ability to win with ease at the No. 2 and 3 spots, respectively.
“I think it was great to have wins at home coming off a tough set of weekends on the road to add confidence going into Nationals,” said senior Omar Mangalji.[img_assist|nid=27293|title=Quick on his feet|desc=Sophomore Steven Peever returns a volley during the men’s squash team’s 9-0 shutout of St. Lawrence on Saturday.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
As for now being eligible to participate in the Championship’s top division, the goal Cornell came so close to achieving last season?
“I don’t think we can [finish in the top-8] at this point, having dropped the two matches to Dartmouth and Williams earlier in the season. They were very, very harmful. But we will be fighting for that No. 9 spot again. … We have to play well, every one of us at every single position,” said Mangalji. The veteran player also praised his fellow senior teammates.
“This match is a tribute to them,” Mangalji said.
The women also went 9-0, 9-0, on Saturday against Toronto and St. Lawrence. Arguably the most consistent player on the women’s team, junior Alex Cornett extended her consecutive win streak to six this weekend, likely aiding her individual ranking in the days leading up to the Individual Championships (Cornett was ranked 50th in the nation at the end of last year).
Other notable players for the Red (6-6, 0-6 Ivy) included freshman Jen Gemmell and senior captain Mairin Barnes, both of whom managed to keep their opponents completely scoreless in their St. Lawrence matches. And, in another of the many parallels between the men’s and women’s squads, the women’s team also likely just missed the boat in attaining the coveted No. 8 spot in the country.
“There’s a group of about four or five teams (including Williams, Brown, and Dartmouth) fighting for the seventh and eighth spots,” said sophomore Liza Stokes about the current competitive landscape. “As of now we’re not [going to make the top division]. We had a great win against Williams but unfortunately they are still ranked ahead of us.”
The Red managed to squeak by highly regarded Williams 5-4 last weekend on the road, but lost key matches earlier in the season to Brown and Dartmouth by scores of 3-6 and 2-7, respectively. All of the women’s squash team’s wins have come in non-Ivy play.