After slow starts to Ivy League play, the Cornell mens’ and womens’ squash teams are hopeful they can get back into title contention in the second halves of their seasons.
The men (5-6, 0-3 Ivy) started the season strong with two wins at the Williams Round Robin despite losing a multitude of key contributors. Top player Harry Freeman ‘17 graduated during the offseason while freshman Yohann Surti will be out until February.
Projected top-three player John Greenwood ’20 is also currently on leave after being charged with a hate crime earlier this academic year. Greenwood was cut from the team prior to his arrest for not participating in team training on a regular basis, according to the team’s coach.
However, despite a solid start, the odds took a turn for the worse as the men went on to drop five consecutive matches, including three Ivy League contests to Columbia, Harvard and Dartmouth.
“We lost [Surti] and Greenwood before the season, both of which would have been top players for our team, so it hasn’t been easy,” said head coach David Palmer. “We’ve just had to adjust.”
But as the season has progressed, the squad has redefined roles and the Red are in the midst of a mini resurgence with three wins in its last four matches. Junior Andy Muran has clearly established himself as the top player on the team, going 3-4 at first singles this year. Junior Perry Hanson has also put in solid work at both first and second singles with an overall 5-3 record on the year.
“[Muran] and Perry Hanson have really stepped up for us so far this season,” Palmer said. “They have taken over the top of the lineup quite nicely, and while it [was] difficult to lose [Freeman], those two have done a great job for us.”
“I feel that now we have a group of about 16 guys who really want to work hard, and I think that, come nationals, we can finish high up in the main draw,” Palmer said. “I’m hoping that we can finish somewhere between tenth and 12th depending on how that weekend shakes out.”
The women (8-3, 1-2) have also faced a similar up and down trajectory this season. After winning its first two matches of the season at the Williams Round Robin, the squad went on to lose two of its first three Ivy League matches, before a recent streak of four wins in the past five matches.
Last year’s top player Rachel Scherman ’17 graduated in the summer, but the trio of seniors Michele Garceau, Emma Uible and Margaux Losty have performed admirably in her absence. Despite a minor disk injury to begin the year, Garceau is 5-1, including two wins at first singles. Uible has gone 3-3, splitting time between first and third singles and Losty has gone 4-2, splitting time between second and third singles.
“All three of our top seniors are nearly identical talent-wise, so that gives us good options going into matches,” Palmer said. “The top four or five girls have cemented their spot in the lineup, but the rest of the team is battling each week to round out the starting lineup.”
The teams will look to continue recent success when both squads travel to Drexel on Wednesday, Jan. 31.