Men's Squash | Squash struggles at NESCAC Championships
Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 02:02
The men’s squash team, ranked No. 30 in the country, entered the NESCAC Championships ready for action after knocking off No. 33 MIT for the second time this season the week before. The Jumbos made strides in every position in the lineup after that 6−3 win and carried the wave of confidence to Trinity College for the conference tournament this weekend.
Tufts entered the tournament as the No. 11 seed, and were matched up in the first round against the sixth Wesleyan Cardinals, who took care of business and defeated Tufts 8−1.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match,” Silverman said. “We had played Wesleyan before, and we were eager to prove ourselves.”
Wesleyan, however, stifled the Jumbos. Aditya Advani lost in the No. 1 tilt 3−11, 4−11, and 8−11. Meanwhile, No. 2 sophomore Zachary Schweitzer, recently reinserted into the lineup after recovering from a groin injury, lost 7−11, 6−11, and 3−11. The lone Tufts win came from No. 6 Brandon Weiss, who won in five games. Silverman called the matchup a victory a huge win for the team.
“It was the first time our full lineup was together,” junior Ben Briggs said of the match. “[But] Wesleyan also had players come back from injury that we had not faced the last time we played them, including their No. 1 player, which made the match tough.”
After falling to the Cardinals, the team commuted to Wesleyan University for the NESCAC consolation matches, where Tufts was matched up with Colby. Despite dropping the match 7−2, the squad was encouraged with its play and feels close to a breakthrough even at the late stage of the campaign.
“Colby was our best showing of the season,” Silverman said.
“The match was much closer than the scores indicated, and a couple matches could have gone either way.”
Those included the matches featuring the top 2 players, with Advani falling in 4 games and Schweitzer in 5. Although the rest of the team suffered losses, Silverman, the No. 5 player, lost a nailbiter by just two points in the 5th game by a score of 11−13. The eighth seeded player, sophomore Andres Fernandez, lost in the fifth game as well by a slim margin of seven.
“Two of the seven matches were tough five game matchups, and it was an overall improvement from our previous matchup with Colby,” Briggs said.
The Jumbos struggled against Connecticut College in the second of their two consolation matches, losing the match 9−0. Silverman attributed the loss to overall exhaustion after playing several tough matches during the weekend.
“The team was tired after the intense showdown that went down to the wire,” he said.
Despite tough results at the NESCACs, things are looking up for the squash program.
The Division III individual championships begin on Friday, and the top three players on the team will travel to Bowdoin College to compete.
“We have very strong players at the No. 1, 2, and 3 spots,” Briggs said. “Even when the rest of the team loses, they always have a shot and make matches competitive. We play in the second best squash conference in the country, so it should make a lot of great matchups. Aditya, Zach, and Jeremy have a lot of potential and should make their presence known over the weekend.”