February 12, 2008

Squash Recap

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On Saturday, the men’s and women’s squash teams ended their disappointing regular seasons on high notes.
The men’s team (6-7, 1-4 Ivy) quickly defeated instate rival Hobart, 8-1. With the exception of sophomore Steven Peever’s loss to Hobart’s Nadav Tannen at the No. 1 spot, every Cornell player managed to win their respective matches. Seven of the eight winners recorded shutouts, winning three straight games.
“The whole team played very well and managed to step up,” said senior squasher Omar Mangalji, acknowledging the emphasis on team effort in addition to individual accomplishment, a theme expounded upon by the team since the beginning of the season. “It was nice to get another win under our belt … but I don’t think [Hobart has] the type of players we’ll be playing at Nationals.”
The men’s team had viewed the match as a lead-up to something much more important — the National Championships starting in three days. Despite solid match play on Saturday, the favorable outcome at Hobart did not provide the rankings increase needed in order for the Red to compete in the top division at Nationals, the category composed of the top 8 teams in the country. Instead, the team will likely be the No. 3 seed in the second-tier division. If so, they anticipate a “first-round matchup against Franklin and Marshall,” which the Red shut out last week, 9-0.
The overall goal, the same as it was at this point last year, is to take their division in Nationals. Though the win against lightly regarded Hobart was meaningless in terms of division placement at Nationals, the win still provided a boost for the Red in terms of team morale.
Like the men’s team, the women (8-6, 0-6) also fared well this weekend, beating both William Smith (Hobart’s sister school) and Mt. Holyoke, in their final matches of the regular season. The team has beaten all of its non-Ivy foes, yet it lost to all Ivy rivals.
In the Mt. Holyoke matchup, the bottom positions carried the team to its 5-4 victory, with all individual wins coming from the lower half of the lineup. Sophomore Jen Chu shut out her opponent at the No. 8 spot, and junior Alix Watson gave up only one game at the No. 9 position.
The match against William Smith went smoother for the Red, as the team defeated the Herons, 9-0 — posting its sixth shutout of the season. The women also hope to feed off the momentum of their final matches when they depart for Nationals on Friday.