Men and Women’s Squash | Men and women’s squash top three players head to championships
Published: Friday, February 7, 2014
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2014 08:02
The men’s and women’s squash teams send their top three players to the Div. III Individual Championships this weekend. Sophomore Aditya Advani, junior Zach Schweitzer and freshman Josh Lee will represent the men’s team; sophomore Paget Stanco and junior co-captains Paige Dahlman and Ann Bellinger will represent the women’s team.
While each player in the tournament represents his or her school, the tournament is for individuals — not teams. Because players are used to participating in team competitions, the tournament will be different from what the Jumbos are accustomed to.
“There’s going to be people who we’ve never played before and it’s going to be extremely competitive,” Advani explained. “I’m really looking forward to playing an individual tournament since it’s been a really long time since I’ve played one.”
This will be the first year of the tournament after last year’s Div. III Individual Championships were canceled due to the Winter Storm Nemo.
The tournament is a unique opportunity for the players because during the regular season, the team plays against schools from all divisions. However, the fact that only Div. III athletes will be competing is not expected to detract from the quality of the competitors.
“There’s going to be a lot of good competition, both mentally and physically,” Dahlman said. “Speaking for myself, I want to have a lot of good matches against those top players who we don’t usually get to play during the season. We will [also] get to play some of the NESCAC schools, which is tough competition.”
The tournament gives all the players an opportunity to showcase their individual skills and play independently — each match will be based solely on their own play.
The players will be seeded based on their individual performance throughout the season. Advani explained how even on the lower-ranked teams, the top three players are very skilled.
“It’s going to be tough,” Advani said. “It’s such a competitive level. I’m going to be playing some of the same players again who I’ve played earlier in the season. Hopefully I can beat the players I’ve beaten before. I’m playing a lot better right now than I have been at the beginning of the year and over the semester.”
Even though wins in this tournament will not necessarily help the Tufts teams’ rankings, the tournament does have the potential to help individual rankings.
“If I do well, my individual ranking could go up,” Advani said. “Zach [Schweitzer] and I are playing very well. We’ve only lost two matches this semester, so hopefully it will be a good tournament.”
“It’s the first year, so I don’t really know what to expect,” Dahlman added.
Another divergence from the norm is the number of players competing for each team. During regular season match play, nine players compete for each team, but during this tournament each team will be reduced to three, augmenting the individuality of the tournament.
“I think this tournament is going to be far more challenging than normal matches because at this point we’re not playing as a team, we’re playing individually,” Advani said. “Everybody is going in with a far different mindset than going in with a nine person team. I think it’s going to be a great experience for all of us since it’s our first time, but especially [freshman] for Josh [Lee] who has never played in something like this before in college.”