Following some intense work over winter break and a few strong showings throughout winter study, men’s squash (4-4, 4-1 in the NESCAC) had a solid weekend, losing to UPenn (5-2) 3-6 on Saturday and defeating Navy (19-3) 7-2 Sunday.
The matches last weekend were high caliber, with Will Morris ’12 winning at the number two spot 3-2 and Will Gruner ’12 defeating the former Junior US National Champion 3-1. Christian Henze ’10 also won at the five spot 3-2. “[The team] played very well this weekend,” Levy said. “The men’s team was very close to defeating Penn, but came up short. The effort was excellent.” The team also defeated Navy in Annapolis, 7-2.
Although California is considered to be the land of surf and sun, the men’s squash team traveled out to San Diego for winter break and had an arduous few weeks of training that prepared them for the tough matches and recent successes that the team has had. During the trip, the Ephs played two challenge matches against club teams in San Diego and Los Angeles, winning the first while ending the second in a semi-draw due to scoring confusion.
When the team returned home, it confronted an extremely talented adversary, Yale. The men lost 0-9, but the scores did not mirror the team’s effort. “The matches were closer than the total score reflects,” said co-captain Bucky Marshall ’09. “I was impressed with the games we were able to win off of them, nearly winning in three positions.”
After the match against Yale, the team had two strong victories against Middlebury (9-0) and Bates (8-1). Strong playing and a deep line-up helped the men defeat Middlebury easily. However, the match against Bates was more intense, since last year, the Ephs lost to the Bobcats for the first time in 10 years. Co-captain George Miller ’09 said last year’s loss was “truly biting. This time we made no mistake from the outset. We were going to put everything into that match to prove that Williams truly is far stronger, and it paid off [this year]. we won that 8-1, and the match we lost was an extremely well-fought match that ended closely in the fifth game. I don’t think anyone questioned after that which team was stronger.”
The team’s next match is today at 5 p.m. against Dartmouth, which has historically been the Ephs toughest opponent. “This match should be extremely close, and on top of that, extremely important,” Miller said. “This match actually decides which team will make it into the top eight draw at nationals, which is ultimately the determining factor in our final ranking.”