Men’s squash (4-2) continued its strong start to the season on Saturday with convincing wins over Navy and St. Lawrence, 8-1 and 9-0 respectively. Though considered favorites for this weekend’s matchups, the Ephs were not taking anything for granted.
The team leaders were quick to emphasize the threat posed by both teams ahead of the matches, especially the impressively fit and fiercely competitive Navy men. Strong victories over both teams would not only sustain the Ephs’ substantial momentum but also give them considerable leverage over some of their closer rivals in the event of a multiple-way tie at the end of the season.
While the men anticipated a successful day, they suffered a considerable setback before setting foot on court â€“ with less than a day to go before the weekend’s competition, Will Gruner ’11 suffered a sprained ankle that made him unfit for the weekend. The vacuum left by his absence at the No. 3 spot was filled as each player below moved up one position, which guaranteed more difficult matches for most of the lineup.
In the end, the importance of these matches and the last-minute loss of a crucial player served only to make the Ephs’ dominant performance all the more impressive. The men gave a professional display in the morning against Navy, claiming victory 8-1.
The Midshipmen pushed several matches to fourth and fifth games with their resolute athleticism, but the Ephs’ response was admirable and ultimately overwhelming. Particularly impressive were Will Morris ’12, playing in the second position, and Ryan Eagan ’13 at No. 9, both of whom fought to victory in five games. Tri-captains Bernard Yaros ’10 and Christian Henze ’10 also gave strong performances, storming back to win three straight games after dropping the first. At the No. 1 position, tri-captain Ethan Buchsbaum ’10 narrowly lost to Navy’s Nils Mattson after four games of technically precise and hard-fought squash.
In the afternoon, the Ephs showed a professional focus in dispatching the Saints with crisp play, powering to a 9-0 win. Pleased with the team’s performance, Buchsbaum said, “Navy and St. Lawrence are two teams we do not take lightly, and I was really happy to see how strongly we played against them this weekend. The results were a testament to the depth and skill of our lineup. They also demonstrated the ability of the team to accomplish some exciting things later this season against teams ranked in the top eight nationally.”
Last weekend’s wins add to the men’s solid start to the season, which has included victories over Middlebury and Tufts and losses to Yale and Harvard, the latter having been decided by only a handful of points. Strong contributions from a formidable freshman recruiting class, along with continued excellence from the seasoned team leaders, has forged a highly competitive and deeply talented team with exciting prospects for the rest of the season.
The Ephs will travel to Hartford this weekend to take on both reigning college squash dynasty Trinity and Columbia’s new varsity squad.