Men’s squash falls to Bates 7-2

February 24, 2016 by Andrew Litvin, Team Correspondent

Men’s squash (9-16, 8-5 in the NESCAC) traveled to New Haven, Conn., this past weekend in pursuit of the Summers Cup Final and the C Division title as part of the men’s national team championships. The team reached the finals but was ultimately unable to come away with the top prize.

In both the quarterfinals and semifinals, the men emerged victorious, with a 9-0 win over Bowdoin and an 8-1 conquest against Wesleyan to reach the finals. Jamie Ruggiero ’17 had an especially impressive performance and defeated the No. 1 ranked Wesleyan player he had barely beaten earlier in the season.

The men’s early success set the stage for the match that Williams had been waiting for all season long: a shot at their longtime rival, Bates.

In the first round of matches on Sunday, Williams looked very strong. Varun Sharma ’16 won in four games to give the Ephs a 1-0 lead in his last collegiate match. He finished the season on a five-match winning streak, having earned victories over Middlebury, Dartmouth and Bates.

On the top court, John Shuck ’17 played outstanding squash to split the first two games against an opponent who earned All-NESCAC honors last season.

Ultimately, Shuck lost a crucial game-ball in the third game, which allowed the opposition to gain back some momentum. David Pincus ’19 also lost in three games, putting Bates up 2-1. Finally, in the second round, Bates clinched the match.

Mason Elizondo ’18 and tri-captain Michael Petrick ’16 each lost in four games, giving Bates a 4-1 lead. With the strength of the opponent’s top two players, the men needed two miracles to have a chance at winning the match. John Fitzgerald ’19 played extremely well on the top court but was unable to keep up with his nationally ranked opponent.

“I was very proud of the men’s team this weekend,” Head Coach Zafi Levy ’01 said. “We have had great results against Bowdoin and Wesleyan. When playing Bates in the final, we just came short in a few key matches.”

In the final round of matches, Williams got a few great final performances out of tricaptain Galen Squiers ’16.

He won in four games, ending his career with three wins at the national championships. Ruggiero, too, concluded the season on a high note by winning a game against one of the top-ranked player in the country.

For the seniors, these matches mark their last in the purple and gold. “I could not be prouder of our seniors in the way they performed this weekend and throughout the season,” Levy said. “Going forward, returning players will train hard over the spring and sumer and will improve. We will certainly look forward to returning to the B Division next season.”

The team is currently part of the C Division, but has recently been part of the B Division.

Last time Williams played at home, they faced Dartmouth in a dual match where the three seniors led the team to what could have been the biggest upset of the college squash season. The seniors helped led the team in their competitions at Nationals, as well, and provided leadership that made Levy proud.

According to Levy, the offseason and the aniticpation of the new season will bring new prospects and excitement to the team next year.

“As always, we will have some [new recuruits] coming in next year,” he said.

The season concludes with the Ephs going 9-16 with a winning percentage of 36 percent. The Ephs now look to the offseason to train and prep for next fall.

The men are graduating Sharma, Squiers and Petrick this season.

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