Nationals are approaching fast for the men’s and women’s squash teams. The women have three more games to prepare while the men have four. Both teams matched up against Harvard and Dartmouth this past weekend and have two more Ivy League games next week against Penn and Princeton.
The men’s team dropped both of its matches this past weekend, losing to Harvard 8-1 and Dartmouth 5-4. The Red (3-8) are still very much in contention for a B Division title despite the losses and put on a much better effort than what the final scores showed.
“I’d say as a team we put out the best effort we could,” said freshman Ben Francis. “We could’ve done better, but I was happy with how we played.”
Francis is leading the team with seven victories on the season as a freshman and remarked on the transition from high school to collegiate squash.
“It’s definitely a lot different,” he said. “Everybody’s fit in college, and everyone has similar amount of skill, so it really comes down to the fitness.”
The women’s team fared similarly against the Crimson, losing 9-0, but was able to hold on and beat Dartmouth 8-1. The team followed the Harvard loss on Sunday with a 9-0 defeat of William Smith College.
Head coach Julie Devoy said she was pleased with how her team’s performance.
“They came out working hard, wanting to win, and playing excellent squash,” she said. “That was really pleasing to see.”
She thought even the team’s effort in the Harvard loss was strong, even though the outcome was not ideal.
“Against Harvard our main goal was to make them work for the win, and the rallies were competitive,” she said. “We focused on trying to keep the opponent on par with us for as long as possible. Overall, the weekend went really well for women’s squash.”
Both teams have end-of-season goals to perform well at nationals.
At this point, the men are focusing on a B Division title, but an A Division birth is still not out of reach. Currently ranked 12th, the men would have to climb four places to compete in the A Division.
“We want to make the A Division… but if not and we make the B Division, our goal is to definitely win the B Division and get a national championship,” Francis said.
The College Squash Association has adopted a new electronic ranking system this season, which consists of computer-generated rankings based on match performances and previous rankings.
Currently ranked eighth and on the edge of the A Division, it is essential that the women’s team perform well in its remaining three games.
No. 7 Columbia is also playing No. 9 Drexel this weekend, so the Red is really hoping for a Columbia victory to prevent the possibility of Drexel taking its No. 8 position. The Red also has match this weekend against No. 11 Franklin and Marshall College, so a victory here is essential as well.
“[This match] is critical for us to win as well obviously because they’re ranked behind us, so going into nationals we hope to manage stay in that top eight,” Devoy said.
Both teams hit the road for Princeton tomorrow to prepare for their Friday matches against the Tigers. Princeton is ranked third on the women’s side and 13th on the men’s.
“The end off the season is just on the horizon, and we need to make sure we’re in good shape and ready for nationals,” Devoy said.