February 24, 2009

Squash Finishes Behind Seeding at Nationals

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The CSA National Championships this weekend didn’t play out exactly as the men’s squash team had anticipated, but the Red nonetheless produced a solid showing in Princeton, N.J. Cornell (13-5, 4-2 Ivy) went into Nationals ranked fourth in the country, but a narrow loss to Harvard set the stage for the team finishing sixth following Sunday’s play. There was a silver lining, however, as the Red was deemed the Collegiate Squash Association’s most improved team after its jump in the standings from No. 11 at the beginning of the season, to its current No. 6 position.
“We went into the weekend looking to get three or four … so obviously the outcome was a little bit disappointing,” said head coach Mark Devoy. “The overall picture of the event, us finishing sixth, was good considering we started at No. 11 at the beginning of the season … The jump into the top eight was good … Was it as good as we could have done? No … But when you come down and you play and you go to the event, that’s where you have to produce the big game, and we didn’t do it.”
[img_assist|nid=35484|title=Keep it wristy|desc=The men’s squash team underwhelmed this weekend, finishing sixth after being seeded fourth. The team, however, was given an award recognizing the Red’s rise from No. 11 last season, to No. 6 this season.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Like its female counterparts, the men’s team went 1-2 against three of the top eight teams comprising the Potter Cup division, kicking things off against the Crimson (7-3, 4-2 Ivy) on Friday afternoon. The No. 5 seed ended up getting the best of the Red by the slimmest of margins, 5-4.
“It doesn’t get any closer than that,” Devoy said. “We were playing a different lineup against Harvard than we played before … so the matchups were slightly different. Big event, courts are a little bit different than we’re used to, but that was the same for both teams as well, and we didn’t get a lot of practice time on the courts.”
At the No. 2 position, junior Chris Sachvie downed his opponent in straight sets in what would be the first of three weekend victories for the co-captain. Freshman Thomas Spettigue needed four sets, but managed a 9-5, 1-9, 9-2, 10-9 win over Harvard. Sophomore co-captain McKay Claghorn and classmate Amar Gupta also defeated their opponents at the Nos. 7 and 8 positions, respectively.
“I think we went in pretty well-prepared,” Sachvie said. “We played Harvard in the regular season and beat them, but I think their team improved and they were just healthier this time; I think a few of them were sick last time we played them, so we knew it was going to be harder to beat them this time. And it just worked out that they won a couple of the close ones on that day.”
The Red had better luck against Dartmouth, dominating the Green, 7-2, on Saturday afternoon. Sachvie picked up his second win in as many days, 9-7, 9-6, 9-2, while freshman Alex Domenick bested his opponent, 10-9, 9-3, 9-2, in the third spot.
“Alex Domenick … played very well on the weekend. … He was in a crucial position and had some big games and played really well,” said Devoy.
Wins also came from freshmen David Hilton and Charlie Wagner, sophomore Pat Brady, Claghorn and Gupta. The victory secured Cornell the chance to play Yale for fifth place.
The Red had similar luck against Yale as it did against Harvard, ultimately falling to the Bulldogs, 3-6. Sachvie once again got the best of his opponent, while the remaining wins belonged to Domenick and Spettigue.
“For the most part, everyone on the team was healthy, and everyone played well,” said Sachvie. “We came up a little bit short as a team. It wasn’t any individual performance that brought us down, or anything like that. It came down to just one or two matches that could have went either way, and we just came up on the short end of them.”
“It’s what happens when you go away to tournaments and you then play big, crucial matches,” added Devoy. “There’s got to be a winner, and there’s got to be a loser, and we were on the losing end … it’s what sport’s about.”