November 22, 2010

Squash Sees Improvement After Season-Opening Victories

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Cornell’s No. 6 men’s and No. 7 women’s squash teams opened their seasons on the road last weekend. They played Friday night against Franklin and Marshall College and went on to play the men and women of Penn and Princeton for the rest of the weekend.

Both teams celebrated victories in their first matches of the season. The men survived a nail-biter against No. 10 Franklin and Marshall, coming out on top, 5-4. Men’s coach Mark Devoy was impressed by Franklin and Marshall’s new look team.

“Franklin and Marshall had a couple new recruits and made a big jump from last year,” Devoy said.

The women’s team, coached by Julee Devoy, had a much easier time with Franklin and Marshall than did the men, earning a decisive sweep, 9-0. All 10 matches, including the exhibition, were won in convincing fashion, not allowing a single opponent to win a set, affirming the Red’s dominance over its opponents.

“We had one easy one against F&M,” Devoy said. “It was a good warm-up and no one had any difficulty with their opponents.”

The next two matches did not go as smoothly, as the Red was swept, 9-0, by No. 5 Penn and lost to No. 4 Princeton, 8-1. Cornell’s lone victory came from sophomore No. 7 player Maggie Remsen in three sets against Caroline Feeley of Princeton. Despite the results, coach Julee Devoy was encouraged by her team’s play.

“We knew they were going to be tough ones. Even though we lost to Penn and Princeton, the score is no indicator of how the team played,” Devoy said.

The women’s coach was particularly pleased with the play of her No. 2 freshman Jesse Pacheco, who lost in five sets to Penn’s Yarden Odinak.

“[Jesse] had an awesome match. She lost in five, but played the best squash I’ve seen her play,” Devoy said. “As a freshman, she showed that she has a lot of potential and will be one of the top players.”

Meanwhile, for the men, the second match of the weekend was just as close as the first, with the Red beating the Quakers narrowly, 5-4. The team’s top four competitors all won their respective matches, carrying the team to a victory. This streak was highlighted by junior No. 3 player Thomas Spettigue overcoming a 2-0 deficit to defeat Penn’s James Clark in five.

The men’s team ended their week on a sour note, losing, 6-3, to third-ranked Princeton. Sophomore Rishi Jalan and sophomore Owen Butler won a pair of five-setters — leaving Jalan undefeated this weekend — while Thomas Spettigue continued his dominant weekend with a victory in straight sets.

Mark Devoy said that this weekend was a good initial indicator of where his team fits in the rankings.

“We didn’t quite get the 3-0 [shutout], which was what we were looking for, but it was still a good start for the rest of the season,” Devoy said. “[This weekend] was a reality check for us for what’s coming up on the season. We have a bit of work to do and a tough match coming up with Harvard after the break.”

Despite the loss to Princeton, the team felt it was a successful weekend.

“Overall, we were pretty happy to come out with two wins, [especially] our coaches,” Butler said. “The team showed a lot of guts to come out on Sunday after two hard matches and challenge Princeton.”

The Red must now shift its focus to Harvard, who it will play at the Belkin Squash Courts on Dec. 4.

Original Author: Albert Liao