January 27, 2009

Squash Sweeps Home Weekend

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The men’s and women’s squash teams enjoyed an incredibly successful weekend, winning a combined five matches to sweep the Cornell Invitational. The three-day competition featured nail-biters, upsets and blowouts, starting with the men’s 9-0 drubbing of Amherst on Friday afternoon at the Belkin International Squash Courts. Eight Cornell players shutout their opponents, 3-0. Sophomore Will Hartigan, who moved up to play in the No. 1 position, allowed just one point in the third game. In addition, sophomore Pat Brady and junior Chris Vernick, who played at the No. 7 and No. 8 positions, respectively, did not surrender a single point to their competitors through three games. [img_assist|nid=34437|title=Backhanded compliment|desc=Junior Steven Peever competes against Dartmouth on Jan. 24.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The men returned to the court Friday night for a matchup against Rochester, which senior captain Chris Sachvie acknowledged was “the biggest [match] of the weekend.”
“We’re currently sitting at No. 4 in the country, and [Rochester] is at No. 6,” Sachvie said. “[This win] guarantees us going into Nationals at No. 4.”
Cornell edged Rochester, 5-4, with many players securing wins over opponents ranked higher than them. “It was a big team effort to beat them, they’re a really strong team,” Sachvie said. “Everyone who played, played really well.”
Freshman Thomas Spettigue and junior Steven Peever had particularly strong showings, and Hartigan managed to get the best of his Second-Team All-American opponent.
Next up for the Red was Ivy League rival Dartmouth, who Cornell defeated, 6-3. Both teams exchanged wins back and forth at the top of the order, but a strong showing from positions 7-9 gave the edge to Cornell.
Sachvie and freshman Alex Domenick shutout their opponents, 3-0, at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions, and clutch performances from sophomore captain McKay Claghorn and sophomore Amar Gupta earned the team two wins in five-game matches.
The men’s team closed out its busy weekend on Sunday morning, dominating Williams, 8-1, to preserve the sweep. Back at the No. 2 position, Hartigan won a heavily contested 3-2 marathon by a score of 8-10, 9-3, 9-1, 8-10, 9-2.
Head coach Mark Devoy credited the top of his order with carrying the team and acknowledged that the Red “went in looking to survive, and managed to do just that.”
As far as improvements go, Devoy said he would just like to see his team learn to play hard on a continuous basis.
The Invitational proved equally rewarding for the women’s side, as the team shutout Dartmouth, 9-0, on Saturday afternoon to secure its first conference victory since the 2001-02 season.
“I was thrilled with the way that everyone played,” said head coach Julee Devoy. “We will now look to build from here.”
Sophomores Jennifer Gemmell and Izzy Spyrou, juniors Liza Stokes, Annie Ritter and Rachel Wagner, senior Alex Cornett and freshman Shivangi Paranjpe all blanked their opponents, 3-0. Playing at the No. 6 position, Cornett only allowed her opponent three points in the third game. At the No. 7 and No. 8 positions, Wagner and Ritter posted identical scores of 9-2, 9-0 and 9-1, respectively.
The women duplicated the men’s performance against Williams, recording an 8-1 victory which moves them to 6-4 overall. On the men’s side, the Red currently stands at 10-2 and is ranked fourth in the nation.
“We have some very happy coaches here,” admitted Mark Devoy.