November 21, 2011

SQUASH | Men, Women Prepare for Ivies After Strong Weekend

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The men’s squash team swept the Williams Round Robin over the weekend with consecutive 9-0 wins against the competition. The Red defeated Middlebury on Saturday and the host school, Williams, on Sunday. Four players — juniors Nick Sachvie, Owen Butler and Rishi Jalan, and sophomore Bryan Keating — won both their matches in straight sets.

Not all of the team’s matches were quite as easy, however. Senior co-captain Dave Hilton beat his Middlebury opponent in three sets, but had to work a little harder to defeat his adversary from Williams in five.

“Williams is just a better team, and that was our first time ever playing them. We’re really competitive, and they never really give up, so everyone kind of had tough matches,” Hilton said.

Although the matches were expected to fall in the Red’s favor, the team faced a small disadvantage with Hilton’s co-captain Alex Domenick out due to injury. Despite the absence of its leader, the men still rose to the occasion.

“We came together and performed well as a unit,” said Hilton. “That was great to see even though we were missing Alex.”

Like the men, the women’s team also dominated its competition, only falling in one of four matches. After a loss to Stanford, 7-2, head coach Julee DeVoy pointed out that the lopsided final score was not indicative of her players’ performance.

“When you look at the individual matchup results, you’ll see that we had three games that went to five sets, and each in of those five setters our girl lost, 11-9, in the fifth. Those three matches could have gone either way,” she said. “The girls played extremely well … they just didn’t get to the post first. Could they have done anything differently? Not really, you know it was so close and they played really well and did their best.”

“I feel like I could have tightened up some of my shots and reduced some errors, but I think overall it was good on both parts,” added freshman Danielle Letourneau, who opened her first college match at the No. 1 spot.

When asked about the Red’s performance against their other opponents —the women defeated Middlebury, Williams, and Mount Holyoke without losing a single match — DeVoy confirmed she anticipated nothing less than the 9-0 final.

“They were all lower-ranked teams then ours, so that’s the result that we were expecting,” she said. “Obviously the result shows we are definitely stronger than those teams.”

Letourneau reiterated her coach’s words, adding that although the women were satisfied with their performance, they still have a lot of work to do before they face tougher competition in the Ivy League.

“We just need to play some matches, do drills, just keep our fitness up, and it will all come together,” she said. “We need to do what we’re doing now, but maybe with more intensity.”

With Thanksgiving around the corner, both teams will have some time off before their first official Ivy League matches against Columbia on Dec. 3. According to Devoy, the vacation will not be a factor in the squad’s future performance.

“We’ve got quite a bit of break ahead of us … but most of [the girls] will remain active,” she said. “In theory, they shouldn’t lose any ground and should come back ready for that week’s preparation leading in to Columbia.”

Original Author: Olivia Wittels