Men’s squash continues strong season

Last Sunday, men’s squash (7-6, 3-0 in the NESCAC) notched its third consecutive victory by defeating Bates 8-1 at home after crushing Middlebury 7-2 on Friday. Prior to defeating Bates and Middlebury, the men earned conference wins over Bowdoin on Jan. 6 and Colby on Jan. 5. The men dropped their match against Yale 5-4 on Jan. 5. Before break, the men suffered a tough loss to Harvard 9-0 on Dec. 5.

Against Bates, in what proved to be an exciting match, the men finished on top. Taylor Foehl ’14, Julian Drobetsky ’14, Kevin Chen ’15 and Michael Petrick ’16 each decisively won their matches in three games. Chris Wilkinson ’15 lost his first game but fought back to win his match 3-1. Ryan Eagan ’13 earned a 3-1 win as well.

Tri-captains Jack Ervasti ’13 at No. 5 and Alec Greaves-Tunnel ’13 at No. 4 both finished with hotly- contested 3-2 wins. Tri-captain Nick Marks ’13 suffered the one loss of the day but played a very competitive match against Bates rookie Ahmed Abdel Khalek, who kept the Bobcats from being shut out.

“The team showed remarkable quality across the lineup yesterday, but special credit has to go to Jack Ervasti, who battled back to win from 2-1 down with a chipped bone in his wrist,” Greaves-Tunnel said.

On Friday evening, the men’s team traveled to Middlebury and secured another victory, beating Middlebury 7-2. Petrick, the only rookie in Williams’ top nine players, played particularly well, winning his match in five games. The only losses in the match were Eagan at No. 8 and Chen at No. 3. Both Eagan and Chen lost close, five-game matches. The other Ephs defeated their opponents in either three or four games.

“Middlebury can be tough because their courts are tightly fit into one of those bubbles and are a different type of court than ours and most others,” Eagan said. Despite the different surface, Williams remained on top of its game and captured another victory.

On Jan. 5, Williams put in a powerful performance to push past Bowdoin 8-1. Foehl played at No. 2 and earned a four-game victory, while Greaves-Tunnel persevered to win in five games, collectively capturing two of the eight Williams victories.

“We’ve come up with a number of results that send a very clear message about the talent and depth of this team,” said Greaves-Tunnel.

Upon returning from break, the men’s team outplayed Colby 9-0. Only one of the nine Ephs dropped a game, and all nine players won their matches.

Later that afternoon, the men returned to the courts to take on Yale. This proved to be a very close match, as Williams almost secured another win. Match victories from Wilkinson, Chen, Andy Maruca ’14 and Ervasti brought Williams within one victory of defeating Yale in this exceptionally close match. Ultimately, however, Williams lost 5-4.

“Our season has been really good, and we are the best we’ve been in a while,” Graham said.” With five new freshmen and five new sophomores last year, we are really deep. We beat Penn. for the first time since our head coach [Zafi Levy ’01] has been here, and we had a really close match with Yale, who is usually top five in the country.”

Before break, the men suffered a tough loss to Harvard on Dec. 5, falling 9-0.  Many Ephs won games during their matches, but none in the top nine were able to pull out a win.

The men return to competition on Friday against St. Lawrence at Yale. Play will start at 7:30 p.m.  On Saturday at 11 a.m., the Ephs will challenge George Washington, also at Yale, before taking on Yale on Sunday at 9 a.m.

On Jan. 25, the men will host Brown, followed by matches against NESCAC competitors Wesleyan and Amherst on Jan. 26. The men will round out the weekend of play with a match against perennial foe Columbia on Jan. 27 at the Simon Squash Center.

“There are so many good teams this year though, that looking much further than the next weekend can be dangerous. For now all our focus is on the Yale weekend,” Marks said.