The Williams men’s squash team had a successful week, beginning its intercollegiate season with a 2-1 record, beating Dartmouth and Cornell and falling to Yale. The squad performed well within the confines of the Simon Squash Center but ran into trouble on Friday in Yale’s very fast courts.
The team’s opening match on Wednesday night against Dartmouth was a decisive 8-1 victory for the Ephs. The squad came out strong and never let its opponent into the contest. Michael Bourke ’01 made a successful return to the varsity lineup after a devastating ankle injury almost two years ago. Bourke ’01 has made an amazing recovery, regaining his old form and dispatching his opponent in four games. The Ephs had solid performances throughout the lineup, as seniors Rob Howell ’00, Jeff Roizen ’00 and Dave Adams ’00 all contributed to the victory. Zafrir Levy ’01 faced a tough opponent in Dartmouth’s number one player, Beau River, and the match was a tight three-game contest in which Levy eventually fell.
Chris Bonner ’01 commented on the victory, saying, “This was a big win for the team. We wanted to assert ourselves in the first match and I think the score showed that our hard work and preparation has paid off.”
Coach Dave Johnson agreed, stating, “It was great to avenge last year’s heartbreaking loss to Dartmouth with such a convincing win. Everyone played well and the seniors carried the day.”
The fifth-ranked Ephs traveled to New Haven on Friday for an important contest with the fourth-ranked Yale squad. After spending the previous weekend playing in a tournament at Yale, the Williams men were hoping to negate the home-court advantage and surprise the bulldogs.
Unfortunately, only the top three players for the Ephs were able to win on the day, as Yale won 6-3. Number two player Win Tangjaitrong ’02 survived a tough five-game match, regaining his concentration and poise to win the final game 15-3, while Parth Doshi ’03 played beautiful squash, winning 3-0. It was at the four through nine spots that the Ephs had trouble, and the extremely balanced Yale lineup came through, winning all six matches in either three or four games. Co-captain Rob Howell ’00 commented on the loss, stating, “The match was extremely close and the team certainly could have pulled out two more victories. We need to work on our mental toughness and hopefully we’ll get another shot at those guys in the national tournament.”
A bright spot for Williams were the ten matches played in addition to the varsity contest. The Ephs were able to showcase their depth, as Chris Bonner ’01 and Harin Tantongsirisak ’00 both returned from lengthy hiatuses to play feisty, competitive matches.
Saturday night, the Ephs played host to Cornell and posted a 9-0 victory against a much-improved squad. Max Montgelas ’03 overcame some early nerves to pull out a come from behind five-game win, while Chris Delaney ’01 displayed his usual lightning quick speed and uncanny flexibility in winning his three-game match. Andrew Weller ’01 was unable to use his feline ferocity to claw his way back into the number ten match, falling in four games to a dogged opponent and giving Cornell its only victory on the day. Dave Adams ’00 played beautiful error-free squash en route to a 3-0 win, and Mike Bourke ’01 rebounded from a mental lapse in the second came to capture his contest in four games.
With a 2-1 start, the Ephs are excited for the remainder of their season and look forward to matches against the University of Pennsylvania and a talented Princeton squad this weekend. If the team is to maintain its fifth place national ranking, it must continue to work hard and improve its focus in tight matches like the Yale contest.
Commenting on the week’s results, Coach Dave Johnson said, “To be honest, although the score indicates otherwise, I didn’t feel we played our best squash against Cornell, although I think everyone is pretty tired after a long stretch of squash over the past two weeks. Still, it’s always great to beat an Ivy, and the team and I are really looking forward to next weekend’s matches with Penn and Princeton.”