February 1, 2012

SQUASH | Squads to Play Home at Belkin

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Cornell squash will be put to the test this weekend, facing three squads on three consecutive days. The Red opens against Franklin and Marshall at 6 p.m. on Friday, in what should be the easiest match of the weekend for both the men and women.

“We are much higher ranked then [F and M],” said women’s head coach Julee Devoy. “For us this is a good warm-up match for Saturday and Sunday’s play. The expectation is to win 9-0 without difficulty.”

On Saturday at 12 p.m., the Red faces Ivy rival Dartmouth, in what should be a challenging match since the two teams are so closely ranked.

“[Dartmouth is] currently ranked one spot behind us, so we’re seven and they’re eight,” Julee  Devoy said. “The expectation is that they have a good team. We can’t take them lightly and we need to go out there and play good squash to come off with a victory.”

Cornell faced Dartmouth earlier in the season, during the Ivy Scrimmages hosted by Yale.

“We beat [Dartmouth] 8-1 at Ivy scrimmages … so [the match] will be a good test for us to try to shut them out,” added junior co-captain Jaime Laird.

Sunday’s 12 p.m. match against the No. 1-seeded Harvard will definitely be the women’s toughest, as Julee Devoy pointed out that the Crimson is “beating everybody pretty handily that is ranked above us.”

“I just want them to get out there and play good squash, be competitive,” she said.

Three consecutive matches may affect the Red’s lineup this weekend, as both injuries and the strength of the opposing teams is taken into consideration when Julee Devoy chooses her players.

“Our team has got a few injuries on it right now,” Laird said. “It’s a tough call for the coach to see if she wants to sit a couple of players who are hurt in the first match or if it’s better to let them have the warm-up.”

On the men’s side, head coach Mike Devoy reiterated that three matches in one weekend provides not only a physical challenge, but a mental one as well.

“Everybody on the team will have a hard match, and they’ll have three matches, so you know, they’ve got to be well prepared for going into this weekend,” he said. “That’s the thing, is keep them prepared for three matches, not just one.”

“It’s definitely making sure that you do all the right things to recover for the next day,” added senior co-captain Alex Domenick.

The men’s team has another reason why beating Franklin and Marshall and Dartmouth is so crucial this weekend.

“They’re the two teams ranked below us, so it’s important that we keep them at bay … for seeding purposes for the nationals,” Mike Devoy said. “If we lost to one of those teams it would actually drop our seeding, which means going into the nationals we’d have to play either of the top two seeds. We don’t want that to happen, so it’s super important that we actually don’t drop the Friday and the Saturday match.”

As for beating Harvard — which the men have done the last two times the Crimson entered the Belkin Squash Courts — the Red is looking to prove itself at home once again.

“You play Harvard at Harvard, and all their fans are screaming at you … you lose some tight matches,” Domenick said. “You play Harvard at Cornell, all your friends are there, your family’s there. It’s the courts you play on every day. Sometimes … your opponent doesn’t have that same fight in him that he would have had if he was playing at his court. It’s definitely a huge advantage.”

Original Author: Olivia Wittels