February 6, 2012

SQUASH | Men, Women Go 2-1 In Weekend Matches

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Cornell squash completed a match-filled weekend, finishing with a 2-1 record for both the men’s and women’s team. Both squads began the weekend opener handily defeating Franklin and Marshall, 9-0.“We were expected to beat Franklin and Marshall (9-8) because they’re ranked below us,” said No. 3 sophomore Jesse Pacheco. “We did a really good job of making sure that we kept our place in terms of our team ranking.” Saturday’s match against Dartmouth (4-5-0, 1-4-0 Ivy League) proved to be more of a challenge for the Red (10-4-0, 3-2-0); however, the women pulled out a tight 5-4 win.“We had some awesome matches,” said head coach Julee Devoy. “Our No. 1 [player,] Danielle Letourneau, came through in five sets. [Beating Dartmouth] was an essential win for setting us up for the national seeding in three weeks time.”“Dartmouth is one of our biggest rivalries every year,” Pacheco said. “We knew coming into the match it was going to be close and we would have to fight really hard. We beat [Dartmouth] early in the year, so we weren’t sure about what was going to happen, but we … ended up coming out with the really close win.” Although the women did not manage to take a match from No. 1 Harvard (12-0-0, 5-0-0), the squad’s physical performance was a high point of the weekend.“A good thing that we have going for us right now is that our team is pretty fit, which is really great because it’s definitely an advantage over a lot of other teams,” Pacheco said.“When you have a three-match weekend … match fitness is really critical,” Julee Devoy said. “The more you play, the sharper you get.”Even with two players absent from its normal lineup, the men’s squad (10-4-0, 3-2-0) compiled solid wins over Franklin and Marshall (9-6) and Dartmouth (7-5-0, 2-3-0). Though the Red fell, 4-5, to Harvard (13-2-0, 4-1-0), the defeat proved that Cornell remains a strong competitor within the Ivy League circuit.“We were two guys down and we took Harvard that close,” said head coach Mark Devoy. “Everybody stepped up. I was very impressed with my captains — they were the ones not playing — and they did a great job off the court. That was super important to how we performed.”“Our team definitely wasn’t as strong as we are full strength, but everyone stepped up,” said senior co-captain Alex Domenick. “As a person who plays in the middle of all the matches … it was really fun to motivate everyone and keep everyone going. It was disappointing to lose, but definitely a very good sign going forward.”According to Domenick and Mark Devoy, this weekend served as a much needed confidence booster for the squad. “We’re not quite performing at our peak yet, but everyone seems to be coming together at the right time,” Mark Devoy said. “Each player has the confidence that they can win at their particular position. [This weekend] brought the team together in that they are more unified in a common goal — trying to do well at the nationals.”“We’re definitely not lacking in talent,” Domenick added. “We have the former Canadian No. 1, the U.S. No. 1, the Indian No. 1. The talent’s there, but in college squash, it’s tough to pull out those big matches. Confidence plays a huge factor. When we go in again with our full strength lineup we’ll definitely have that confidence.”

Original Author: Olivia Wittels