February 13, 2012

SQUASH | Men Finish Strong on Sunday

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The men’s squash team finished its regular season  with back-to-back 9-0 wins against Penn (5-7, 2-5 Ivy League) and Hobart (10-18). The weekend began with a 6-3 loss to Princeton (12-1, 7-0) on Friday, but on Sunday the Red (12-5, 4-3) rallied to secure its sixth-seed ranking for the upcoming national tournament.

“It was a good final tune-up that everyone had,” said senior co-captain Dave Hilton. “I guess squash is different in that basically everything in the regular season … is to determine your seed for nationals, so it was good for everyone just to get a few more matches under their belt.”

This Friday, the men will face Yale — a team the Red needs to beat in order to place in the Top-4 of the national tournament. The men’s performance over the weekend will be preparation for what is to come, according to Hilton.

“Everyone has their eyes set on Friday’s match and beating Yale,” he said. “We’re definitely taking it one step at a time. I like to feel that we really do match up well with anyone we come up against — it’s just getting over this hump that we’ve had in years past of not getting past that first round quarterfinal match. This year hopefully things will be different and we can move on into the semifinals.”

As for the women, the Red (11-6, 3-4) won only one of its three matches this weekend. On Friday, Cornell fell, 8-1, to Princeton (10-3, 4-3) and went on to suffer a 7-2 loss at the hands of Penn (5-7, 2-5) on Sunday morning. However, the squad rallied and came back with a dominating 9-0 performance against William Smith (6-11) later in the afternoon.

Sophomore Jesse Pacheco noted that a lack of confidence against higher-seeded Princeton played a major role in Friday’s defeat.

“The reason why we lost so badly against Princeton was not only because they’re on paper a better team, but because we also lost a lot of confidence,” she said. “That proved to bring us down a bit more then it should have.”

Pacheco attributed the improved result against Penn to the women feeling more secure in their chances.

“Penn is just as strong a team as Princeton, but because we went out there with more fight and more determination to win, we took a lot more points and a lot more games,” Pacheco said. “Our No. 1Danielle Letourneau] ended up winning and dominating against the Penn No. 1 [Nabilla Ariffin], which was really exciting and completely motivating for us.”

According to Pacheco, the Red’s performance on Sunday against William Smith “proved that we are a strong team against … the lower level teams, and we shouldn’t be intimidated by the teams that are ranked in the Top-5.”

The women are now looking ahead to nationals.

“One of our main goals is … to break through and break into the Top-5,” Pacheco said. “Our program has never exceeded past maybe six or seven … We’re just really looking to take that spot from [Stanford].”

Original Author: Olivia Wittels