After three combined wins this past weekend, the men’s and women’s squash teams will travel to Dartmouth and Harvard, both looking to improve their Ivy League records against conference foes.
The men (6-6, 1-2 Ivy) defeated Franklin and Marshall Friday night in a 5-4 nailbiter. Freshman Jack Greenwood secured the victory for Cornell with a comeback four-set win in the fourth position.
However, the Red’s luck fell short when it took on one of the nation’s top teams: Columbia. The No. 3 Lions easily handled nearly everyone Cornell threw on the court. Sophomore Ben Francis had the only victory of the afternoon for the Red.
“Coming into the match, we knew it was going to be tough, but overall, they stepped up again, and they played some good matches,” said head coach David Palmer. “There were a lot of close four-game matches, so I don’t have too many complaints. They are ranked third for a reason.”
Despite the loss, the men’s team will have an opportunity this weekend to move above the .500 mark when they face two league opponents on the road.
“Dartmouth is traditionally our biggest rival,” said sophomore Andy Muran. “We have lost to them 5-4 each of the past two seasons, so this year, that has been one of the matches that we have been talking about the most.”
The women (7-3, 2-1) won two of their three matches this past weekend, also defeating F&M. The women blew out the Diplomats, sweeping the road team 9-0, and only losing three total sets in the nine matches.
After the dominant performance, the squad traveled to New York City to face No. 7 Columbia as well as No. 6 Stanford.
The Red defeated its in-state rival 6-3, with five of the matches going five sets. Cornell was led by juniors Margaux Losty and Charlotte Knaggs, both of whom swept their matches.
The victory gave Cornell revenge after falling to the Lions in a 4-5 heartbreaker last season.
“The Columbia win was a huge deal,” said junior Emma Uible. “Last year we lost to them during the regular season, but we came back during nationals to beat them. Everyone played extremely well, and the people who won played some of the best squash I have ever seen them play, including myself.”
Just three hours after the hard-fought match against Columbia concluded, the Red had to recover quickly to face another top opponent in Stanford.
Against the Cardinal, Cornell was clearly fatigued, and the group had trouble finding its rhythm facing off with one of the best teams in the nation. Stanford ultimately won the match, 7-2.
Members of the team said they feel that, if given ample rest before taking on the Pac-12 powerhouse, the result could have been very different.
“I was pretty proud of our team that we only lost 7-2 because we were all exhausted from the match earlier in the day,” Uible said. “Although we didn’t pull out as many wins that we did in the morning, I think the fact that we got so close was important for us.”
Nevertheless, Cornell can bounce back from the loss to Stanford when it travels to New England this weekend. The squad does not anticipate having too much trouble with the Green. However, they view the Harvard match as a real challenge — traveling to Cambridge to take on the top-ranked team in the nation.
“Dartmouth should be okay, but we are not going to go into that match underestimating them,” Palmer said. “If we take care of business against Dartmouth, then we feel that we will have a free shot at Harvard, and we can really go in there, play hard, and hopefully gain some experience against a really good team.”