Foehl wins inaugural title for men’s squash

Last weekend, the inaugural Div. III Individual Championships saw lots of purple and gold as the men entered six competitors into the tournament with fantastic results. In the ‘A’ Division, co-captain Taylor Foehl ’14 captured the title while Kevin Chen ’15 finished second. Galen Squiers ’16 brought home the ‘B’ Division crown for the Ephs. The men also played well from Feb. 1 to 2 at the NESCAC Team Championships, playing to a second-place finish.

Last weekend, Foehl, Chen, Chris Wilkinson ’15 and Jamie Ruggiero ’17, all made it to the quarterfinal round of the tournament, guaranteeing an impressive finish. Chen defeated his quarterfinal opponent with ease and proceeded to blaze his way to the finals, while Foehl made his run to the championship match by defeating the talented No. 1 from Amherst in an epic, five-game marathon match. The all-Eph Foehl-Chen final featured impressive movement and superior offensive play from Foehl as he defeated Chen in three games. In the ‘B’ draw, Squiers easily rolled to the finals before winning a back-and-forth five game match to become champion.

These individual successes by the men followed another solid performance by Williams during the NESCAC Team Championships at Hamilton on Feb. 1 to 2.

The men, seeded third in the tournament, began the weekend against No. 6 Bowdoin on Feb. 1. After taking a swift 4-1 lead in the first round of matches, they did not look back. Exemplary 3-0 performances by veterans Foehl and Kai Graham ’15 stood out for the Ephs. Hard-fought victories also came from the No. 4 and No. 8 positions as Wilkinson and Ryan Eagan ’15, respectively, defeated their competitors. The men finished the match with a 7-2 victory over Bowdoin and proceeded into the final four.

Their next match, the semi-final, would not be so easy. The semi-final matchup against Bates held the possibility of retribution for the men, who recently fell to Bates 6-3 on Jan. 11. Bates, wielding two premier international players at No. 1 and No. 2, grabbed two quick victories, but emphatic wins by Wilkinson and Graham leveled the score. Two more victories came from Foehl and Eagan to bring Williams to four wins.

With three matches left to play, the men needed only one more win to secure the overall match victory. Varun Sharma ’16 was the story of the match. Sharma dropped his first two games but bounced back and took his next two games in a war of mental and physical attrition. To place a cap on the match, Sharma started the fifth game with an amazing series of shots and continued the performance to capture an 11-0 win to clinch the match for Williams.

On Feb. 2, the men dropped the subsequent championship match to powerhouse Trinity for a second-place finish in the tournament. Several Ephs put up impressive performances, including a close five-game loss by Foehl. After winning his first game 12-10, Foehl lost the next two but rebounded to win the fourth game 11-9. In the fifth game, Foehl went up 9-7 but ultimately lost his match. Since the NESCAC tournament was introduced in 2007, the Ephs have fallen to the Bantams in the finals every year.

“We’ve set ourselves up for a great end to the season; everybody is excited for nationals,” said Foehl.

The Ephs travel to Harvard this weekend for the season finale at the CSA Team Championships.