Men's Squash | Co−captains, freshman phenom anticipate strong season
Squash Individual Championship Preview
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 13:02
A team season marked by a new coach, a rolling series of highs and lows and some impressive individual play is coming to a close for the men’s squash team.
After winning their first four matches of the season, the Jumbos managed to win only two of their next 14, including three losses in the NESCAC championship this past weekend, a disappointing result on the team level.
But the Jumbos will shift their attentions this weekend to individual competition as they focus on the Div. III Individual championships.
Three Jumbos — co−captains Zach Schweitzer, a sophomore, and Jeremy Ho, a junior, as well as freshman Aditya Advani—will head to Bowdoin College this weekend looking to put their talents to the test.
Advani, Schweitzer and Ho have played in the No. 1, 2 and 3 spots, respectively, for the majority of the season, and it’s the freshman, Advani, who has been the Jumbos’ most consistent performer. He is the Jumbos’ best chance for success.
“[Advani] will be able to go far in the tournament,” Ho said. “When at his best, he can beat anyone.”
With a 12−6 record for the season, including recent wins against the No. 1 players from Stanford, Hobart, Bowdoin and Colby, Advani is looking strong at the right time and feels he has improved as a result of the NESCAC schedule.
“It’s really been great for me, playing the top players and getting so many good matches,” Advani said. “In the individuals I want to play as well as I can and see what I can do. However, I think [Schweitzer] and I are equal players no matter where we are playing, and he also has a very strong chance [of winning].”
The Jumbos’ No. 2, Schweitzer has been battling a groin injury that he suffered during winter training, and played for the first time in nearly a month last weekend.
He had some success at the NESCAC tournament, including a five−set win against Colby College’s No. 2 Trey Simpson, but is worried about his match fitness looking ahead of the rigors of an individual tournament.
“My aerobic fitness was noticeably decreased in the match,” Schweitzer said. “Normally, this would not bode well for an intense individual tournament coming up, but hopefully with intense training sessions throughout this week, I can play well.”
When playing at their best, Schweitzer and Advani have a strong shot at winning most matches, even in a nationally competitive setting.
And while Ho may not have had quite the same level of success, the time he spent at No. 2 with Schweitzer out has helped him improve immensely against similar players.
“I’ve had a big jump in competition from last year and a lot of tough matches,” Ho said. “With that, I feel like my skills have improved a lot and am really looking forward to the individuals.”
Schweitzer has seen this marked improvement firsthand and says he expects to see more of the same this weekend.
“Jeremy has been improving all season,” Schweitzer said. “As a player who is incredibly fit, he often relied on long rallies to outlast his opponents. Now that he has successfully added a finesse side to his game, Jeremy has a real shot at taking down some highly ranked opponents.”