Men's Squash | Tufts sweeps opening weekend of matches
Jumbos feature both new and returning players as Joe McManus takes home first wins as coach
Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 08:11
For a men’s squash program that has experienced some upheaval in recent months, including a search late in the offseason for a new coach, getting off to a good start was more important than ever. And against the University of Vermont, Boston University and Boston College, Tufts easily took care of its competition, winning 9−0, 7−2 and 8−1, respectively.
The matches marked the first Tufts match experience for new coach Joe McManus, who has taken the the helm for both the men’s and women’s squads. According to sophomore Hugo Meggitt, McManus and assistants Edwin Lennox and Eric Lamsa have already made an impact on the players.
“So far, the coaches have been really encouraging,” Meggitt said. “It’s been a big improvement for the program, and I definitely think we’re going to have a good season.”
The Jumbos featured a number of newcomers to the team in the sweep of UVM on Saturday, including freshman standout Aditya Advani, who won 11−1, 11−3, 11−2 at the No. 2 position. Meanwhile, freshman Brandon Weiss, who played No. 5 for Tufts in the opening match, easily downed his opponent, 11−5, 11−1, 11−3. None of the matches lasted more than three games in each best−of−five set, an impressive feat for the team’s first contest of the season.
Following the annihilation of UVM, which was played in Belmont, Mass., the Jumbos traveled to Boston University to take on the Terriers in Saturday’s nightcap. Tufts continued its dominance, as the team dropped just two matches to its downtown rivals.
Key victories included a close, hard−fought battle by Weiss, who won in a comeback five−set thriller against sophomore Jonathan Chambers by a score of 8−11, 7−11, 11−5, 11−6, 11−5.
Meanwhile, sophomore Elliot Kardon broke a 1−1 tie following the second game of his match against freshman Paulo Damoura with 11−1 wins in both the third and fourth games.
“I’m very excited about this season, and I would like to move up from my current No. 7 spot to playing No. 5 on the team,” Kardon said.
The Jumbos finished off their weekend nicely, defeating another top opponent in the area, Boston College, by a score of 8−1. In that matchup, Tufts won three matches in five games, two in four games, two in three games and two by default. Sophomore co−captain Zach Schweitzer and Advani are now both 3−0 for the Jumbos in the top two positions, respectively.
“While UVM, BU and BC didn’t pose the biggest competition for us, these matches were certainly a good warmup for the rest of the season,” Meggitt said. “I’m glad we were able to get our first wins quickly out of the way for coach McManus.”
Top freshman recruits Aaron Fernandez and Harrison Liftman sat out of this weekend’s action due to injuries, but both hope to return after taking a break for Thanksgiving. Tufts will resume play on Nov. 28 against MIT followed by a number of conference matches later this season.
“I’m really looking forward to our match against the legendary Trinity squash program,” Kardon said. “NESCAC squash is some of the top squash in the country, and although challenging, we’re lucky to play in such a high−level conference.”
All of the players agree that this was the way they wanted to kick off the season for a program still adapting to changes.
“Now that we have the first couple matches behind us, we’ll continue to look forward to our next competition,” Meggitt said. “This season, we want to do better overall, and we certainly hope to win the D division of the CSA.”