February 15, 2008

M. Squash Begins Playoffs in Boston

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Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, which was for many involved a laid-back day spending quality time with significant others. For the men’s squash team, on the other hand, the holiday marked something arguably more significant — the departure date for the CSA National championships.
“I have a girlfriend, so for me it’s not very good,” said one player. “But obviously, this is Nationals. This is something we’ve been preparing for all year, so we can handle [missing out on Valentine’s Day].”
It’s a safe bet to assume that, with such an important weekend looming, this sentiment sums up the attitude of the team in general, as well. Nationals has been something the team has looked forward to since the fall. After Cornell lost to Williams two weeks ago, the team realized that it would be playing in the B division. While the team fell short of its preseason goal of playing in the top division, it aims to take the B division for the second year in a row. This may or may not prove more difficult this time around, depending on seeding.
[img_assist|nid=27827|title=The right angle|desc=Senior Mike Gelinas wins his No. 6 seed match, helping the Red to a 9-0 win over Franklin and Marshall on Feb. 2.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]“We are anticipating playing Franklin and Marshall in the first round, then maybe Bates in the second round,” said senior Omar Mangalji earlier this week.
It has since been confirmed that the Red will play Franklin and Marshall tomorrow, a team seeded third in the division. If the second part of Mangalji’s claim also plays out, making it to the finals again could prove somewhat problematic, as Cornell dropped its last two matches to Bates — once this season, once last year.
“Bates should be a very good game,” said sophomore Steven Peever. “We’re going to work very hard on that one, and [despite the previous losses] we feel like we can take them this time.”
For the time being, the Red will concentrate on first-round opponent Franklin and Marshall, which it faces this morning outside Boston at the Belmont Hill School. The last meeting between these two teams came on Feb. 2, when Cornell shut out Franklin and Marshall, 9-0. The other matches are to be played at Harvard.
“To be honest, the Franklin and Marshall match, we’re going in there fully expecting to win that,” Peever said. “Anything else would be a big disappointment.”