February 8, 2008

Squash Utilizes Hobart to Help Young Players

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As the men’s and women’s squash teams prepare for their last matches before the CSA National championships, the men will set their sights on Hobart, while the women will take on William Smith and Mt. Holyoke. With both teams coming in at around .500 — the men at 6-7 (1-4 Ivy) and the women at 6-6 (0-6) — the Red is looking for victories this weekend to give the squads a boost going into Nationals next weekend.
Hobart will come into the 3 p.m. match tomorrow with a 2-17 record, with its most recent losses to Rochester and Navy. The men’s squad hopes to use this match to shake off any rust before Nationals.
“We’re not expecting Hobart to be too much opposition,” said men’s head coach Mark Devoy. “So it’ll be a good chance to get some matches in for the guys and keep them on their toes for next weekend when we go to the National championships. Basically we’re hoping this will be a warm-up for those guys that haven’t had as much playing time or to rest some of the other guys to get ready for the team championship.”
With Nationals coming next week, the men are concentrating their efforts on an effective performance on the weekend of Feb. 15 in Boston for the CSA Nationals. Training has been intense this week to prepare both mentally and physically.
“We started [our preparation for Nationals] last week,” Devoy said. “This week, we’ve gotten into some big training, and the Hobart match will be part of our training, so we’re working the team really hard at the moment. After that, we’ll taper them off next week before the Nationals. Right now, we’re in the stages where there’s a lot of hard work. This match against Hobart will effect our training next week for the Nationals.”
To end the season with a bang, the men are looking for some big performances from their key players. So far this season, No. 1 sophomore Chris Sachvie has outmanned his opponents this season, only losing twice. Devoy also pointed out that the young talent on the team has also been stepping up its play in recent weeks.
“My No. 1 [Chris Sachvie] is playing really well at the moment,” Devoy said. “But he’s been sick lately, so we’re not really sure how he will be able to perform this weekend. All of my freshmen have also been playing OK. It’s quite difficult coming up to the playing team, and they’ve all been playing well. The freshmen have had some tough losses, but they’ve had some good ones as well. So, they have some good grounding, which puts them in good position for next season.”
With the season coming to a close, the Red men have targeted consistency as one main issue to be addressed.
“We’ve had a few up’s and down’s — it’s one of the learning curves,” Devoy said. “They have all been coming along a lot, but it’s just getting them all to perform at the same time. I’m having that problem at the moment. … I’ve got to get them used to the system where these matches are only one-off matches: you only get one go at them. Hopefully, we’ve got it done for Nationals.”
The women have a heavier schedule for this weekend, getting ready to battle two opponents tomorrow — Mt. Holyoke at 11:00 a.m. and William Smith at 1:00 p.m. Mt. Holyoke comes in strong with a 14-2 record, with its only losses to Williams and Brown. William Smith has also done well this season, with a 10-6 record and recent victories against Colgate and Columbia. For this weekend, the women plan to go in with a consistent, competitive mindset similar to weeks past.
“[Devoy] does try to tailor her advice to the teams we’re playing,” said freshman Rachel Schoenau. “But she consistently tells us to start out strong and to never let up. [For the end of the season], we want to finish at the top of the B division,”
The women know they have a lot of ground to make up before Nationals. While the entire team expects to do well, Schoenau explained that the Red still has to rely on a couple of top performers.
“Liza Stokes, Jen Gemmell and Rachel Wagner always come out really fierce,” Schoenau said. “They always have very good, hard-fought, entertaining matches because of their innate competitiveness.”