November 13, 2012

SQUASH | Scrimmages Help Prepare for Tough Weekend Ahead

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On Sunday, the men and women’s squash teams returned from the first intercollegiate matches of the year. Though the scores from the Ivy League scrimmages at Yale will not count, they were a good indicator of where the two squads stand before the season opens.“I’ve got quite a youngish team. I had all four freshmen playing, so it was good experience for them,” said men’s head coach Mark Devoy. “Two of the freshmen actually performed quite well, so that was good to see. They’ve got a lot of confidence, so that’s going to put us in good stead going into … our first round.”The men’s team begins its official season on Friday, with what Devoy believes will be the toughest match of the weekend against “our old foes from Canada,” the University of Western Ontario.“They have some really solid players and our team is definitely a little bit worried about that,” said senior co-captain Nick Sachvie. “This weekend’s huge for us, because our biggest test this semester is Western. We have to go in there and beat those guys.”The fact that the Red has four matches this weekend — Western Ontario, followed by Williams and Hamilton on Saturday, and Stanford on Sunday — will allow Devoy to play more members of the squad, a situation he thinks can only benefit the team down the line.“It will give me a chance to give the guys who are on the bottom end of the roster some match experience,” Devoy said. “When you’re running a team, you never know when you’ll actually have to call on the bottom order with injuries and various things during the season.”The shift from practice to match mentality is rather significant, but the Red is looking forward for its season to begin.“When we get in that match mode, we all sort of hype each other up,” Sachvie said. “I think everyone’s pretty ready for the season. We have some big matches coming up, so we’re all looking forward to playing those.”Women’s head coach Julee Devoy was also pleased with her squad’s performance at the Ivy scrimmages, in spite of some players sitting out due to injuries.“[Junior] Jesse Pachecho didn’t play this weekend … [but] everybody else seems to be looking in pretty good shape, just generally speaking. I think, you know, from here we can keep building and have a reasonably successful season,” said Devoy.The women begin play on Saturday morning, with the first match against Williams. The Red faces Hamilton on Saturday evening, followed by Stanford on Sunday. As Devoy is confident about the matches on Saturday, she too will use this weekend as a way to implement more players into official match play.“Williams and Hamilton … will be comfortable matches for us,” she said. “It’s just a good opportunity to get some matches in of different strengths, and also an opportunity to play the entire lineup. What I’ll do is pull top players out, put some of the lower players in, so that they can dress and get matches. It’s always nice to do when you have home games.”Since the team’s easier matches are both on Saturday, Devoy hopes that will provide the women with a competitive edge over rival Stanford.“[The] two easier matches … give the girls the opportunity to have the upper hand on court. To be playing their games, feeling good out there, and positive, flows over into Sunday’s game against Stanford,” Devoy said. “They’re going to have to battle for that.”Although squash is an individual sport, Devoy stressed that she will encourage the women to go out on the court this weekend with a team-oriented mindset. Despite some nerves that come with this being the first official match of the season, she believes the Red is well prepared.“I think they’re ready to just get out there and play … They’ve had the scrimmage and gotten a feel for what it’s like with lineups and performing as part of a team,” she said. “They’re going to have to … play as one unit of the team, knowing that their match is just as important as anybody else’s.”

Original Author: Olivia Wittels