The energy in the Simon Squash center was palpable last Saturday morning as the men set out to face a much-improved Middlebury squad after a successful 9-0 bout against Bowdoin on Jan. 12. The men went into the match, the seed determiner for NESCACs, resolved to push to victory and the crowd showed up in full force. For their effort, the Ephs earned a 5-4 win over the Panthers but dropped a tough 8-1 match to Columbia.
In the Superfan- and SAAC-sponsored match, the men featured plenty of pink as part of a breast cancer awareness campaign. After the Accidentals sang a beautiful rendition of the national anthem, the Ephs came out of the gate focused on the job at hand. In the first round of matches, No. 3, Taylor Foehl ’14 and No. 6 Kai Graham ’15 took two of the first three matches in solid fashion. This set a precedent for the rest of the contest as Williams battled out four more wins to take the match with a 6-3 result. Tyler Conroy ’16 fought back from two sets down to win a physical five-gamer against Williamstown local Ben Krant at the No. 7 position. At No. 4, Chris Wilkinson ’15 pulled out an equally impressive five-game match with some bold attacking play. Head coach Zafi Levy sounded pleased and optimistic with the result, as the team is looking at a tough end of the season.
On Sunday, the men traveled to New York City to take on a rising Columbia squad. The mercurial Lions have had mixed results this season but came out prepared immediately setting, the Ephs down 3 matches to 0. Though Ryan Eagan ’15 pulled out an incredible 1 1/2 hour, 5-set match against Columbia’s No. 8, the win was not enough to lead the squad to victory. Kevin Chen ’15 played amazing squash against one of the most talented players in the nation, Columbia’s Ramit Tandon. While eventually succumbing in 3 sets, Kevin remained positive and stuck to tight rails and all-out physical exertion until the last point. Taylor Foehl ’14 played Tandon’s younger brother, the No. 2 for Columbia, and put up an inspired performance though he also fell in three. “It was tough, but we can do better,” Blair Dils, assistant coach, said. The Ephs will push to improve and take on the last month of the season with both NESCAC and National Championships coming in the next four weeks.
Next weekend the men travel to New Haven for the Yale Round Robin where they will face off against George Washington and Franklin and Marshall, before traveling to Amherst to play Wesleyan and Amherst in a NESCAC and Little Three showdown.