February 18, 2008

M. Squash Wins Two-of-Three, Places 11th

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The men’s squash team was driving strong into Nationals weekend, looking to make an impact on the competition and to avenge some heartbreaking losses during the season. With the three-day CSA Nationals starting last Friday, the men sustained a cumulative 2-1 record for the weekend in the 2008 Hoehn Division, placing them 11th.
“In terms of the result, I’d say it was a bit of a disappointment,” said senior Mike Gelinas. “We ended up finishing 11th in the country, but we wanted to finish ninth. It didn’t turn out that way. But we fought really hard, and all of our matches were really close.”
Starting out the weekend on Friday, the Red shutout Franklin & Marshall with a 9-0 victory, winning eight of its matches by 3-0 decisions. Great performances came from No. 1 sophomore Chris Sachvie, who let his opponent, Sadiq Madraswala, score a total of only five points in their three matches and No. 6 freshman McKay Claghorn, who won, 9-0, 9-0 and 9-2, over Ben Lurio.
“We kind of expected [the victory against Franklin & Marshall],” said senior Alex Wolff. “We did pretty well against them earlier in the season, so it was a nice warm-up to get going for the rest of the tournament.”
“We actually played really well on Friday,” Gelinas said. “A couple of kids who had closer matches last time beat their opponents more easily this time, which was encouraging.”
Coming off of the victory over Franklin & Marshall, the men went into the second round to face Bates, a team they faced earlier in the season. With a tight, 5-4, loss at the hands of Bates on Jan. 18th, the squad was hoping to have some motivation to advance into the third round undefeated. Nevertheless, Bates defeated Cornell, 6-3, in a close battle. Cornell wins came from Gelinas, freshman Amar Gupta and sophomore Chris Vernick.
[img_assist|nid=27900|title=This is the end|desc=The men’s squash team placed 11th at the CSA Nationals.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]“We figured that Bates was going to be a tough match,” Wolff said. “We lost a close one to them earlier in the season, so we knew it was going to be close again. It’s a little disappointing, but I know the guys fought hard, especially for a team so heavy in freshmen. There’s definitely an experience component to the whole situation. At Nationals, they did a really good job. Even with the disappointment, it gives us room to grow next year.”
“Our first loss against Bates was probably one of our most devastating losses of the season,” said Gelinas. “We were all really down after the 5-4 loss to Bates earlier in the year. This one hurt a little bit; four of our matches went to five games, but we lost three of them, so we could’ve performed a little bit better at those. We really did feel like we went out there and fought hard, but it just didn’t fall our way.”
With an even 1-1 record for the tournament going into the last day of competition, the men were set to face Navy. The Midshipmen took down Bowdoin, 7-2, on Friday and lost to Rochester, 7-2, on Saturday. At 9 a.m., the Red lined up against Navy and won a 6-3 bout. The No. 1 and No. 2 matches both went to four games, with No. 1 Chris Sachvie and No. 2 Steve Peever both coming out on top. Wins also came from Cornell’s freshmen Amar Gupta and McKay Claghorn and sophomores Dillon Aldrich and Chris Vernick, bringing the Red to a 6-3 victory and a 2-1 record for the weekend.
“We actually beat Navy last year to get the No. 9 spot,” Wolff said. “Those [Navy] guys are tough, man. They always show up and are ready to work hard, but our guys took care of business against them. We didn’t play them in the regular season, so we really didn’t know what to expect, but with a 6-3 win, it’s always nice to go out strong.”
“We played really great [yesterday],” Gelinas said. “Navy plays hard and they’re always in really great shape. I feel like they just run around their campus all day long. But, I think our top positions were more skilled. They were really good fighters and competitors. … It was like an emotional roller-coaster for us.”