As the men’s squash season draws to a close, the last two weeks have been particularly tough. On January 28, the Ephs challenged a tough Harvard Crimson squad. In a tightly contested match, the Ephs, who were 10-3 on the season, lost to the Crimson 8-1.
However, the match was as not as lopsided as the score suggests. Co-captain Whitten Morris ’98 almost defeated the number one player at Harvard. Morris put on an impressive showing before losing in the fifth game of the match 15-10.
Although the Ephs were only able to win one match out of the top nine spots, they were able to sweep the Crimson from the 9-12 spots. Chris Delaney ’01 put on a particularly strong performance defeating his opponent in three straight games. While at the same time, Rob Howell ’00 easily won his match against his opponent.
On January 30, the Ephs returned home for what was to be their final home game of the season. The Ephs faced the visiting Princeton Tigers. Of the seventeen matches played, Andrew Weller ’01 was the only Eph to win his match. “It’s pretty tough sledding at this point. It seems that we’ve hit the tough part of our schedule. Harvard, Trinity, Princeton, Amherst, these are the top teams in the nation,” said Coach Dave Johnson.
After dropping the last two games, the men’s squash team faced a double header at Trinity College. First, the Ephs played the Trinity Bantam who was last year’s runner-up at the NISRA team championships. Although they played well, the Ephs were overwhelmed by Trinity’s international laden squad. The sharp contrast between the level of American squash and the level of international squash was demonstrated as the Ephs were unable to win a match in the top nine spots. The defeat at Trinity was particularly sour because it saw the final game of Curtis Campaigne ’98.
Immediately following the Trinity game, the Ephs took to the squash courts to face Rochester. Despite being exhausted from an earlier match, the Ephs were able to dominate the match. Handing Rochester an 8-1 defeat, the Ephs snapped a three game losing streak and extended their record to 11-5. After the game, Co-captain Dave Rubin ’98 was quoted as saying, “We played well. We got the job done.”
Coming off the victory at Rochester, the men’s squash team traveled to Amherst to compete in the Little Three Championships. The Williams team took the court against Wesleyan right after the Cardinals had lost to Amherst.
The Ephs played a great game and made quick work of the Cardinals. Not a single player in the top nine spots lost a match.
With both Williams and Amherst defeating Wesleyan, the Ephs and Lord Jeffs would play each other in the final match for the championship. Traditionally, Amherst has had a strong squash team and although the men’s team played well, they nevertheless lost 8-1. “I don’t think we played up to our potential,” said Aaron Applebaum ’01. “We just didn’t have the same energy as we had for some of the other games against Harvard or Princeton.”
However, there was a bright spot. In what would prove to be one of the most exciting matches of the season, Dave Rubin gave Williams a victory that denied Amherst a shutout. Having lost his first game in overtime, Rubin stormed back winning the next game 15-3. Although he lost the third game, Rubin had significantly picked up his play. By the fourth game, the momentum had changed. Rubin who was not about to lose his last match against Amherst took a quick lead in the fourth game and never looked back. He then went on to defeat his opponent in the fifth and final game, capturing the only Williams win over Amherst.
Despite a few setbacks, the future still looks promising. “I feel that the team has improved and that we’re playing very well,” said Coach Johnson. The Ephs (12-6) travel to Providence on Tuesday for their final regular season match against Brown. A win on Tuesday secures the men’s squash team a place in the top bracket at the NISRA team championships at Princeton.