Men's Squash | Jumbos seek Conroy Cup upset
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 02:02
The team season for Tufts men’s squash will draw to a close at the College Squash Association NCAA Championships this weekend.
At the tournament, held over three days at Yale University, the Jumbos will compete for the Conroy Cup as the 32nd seed in the country. The Jumbos will be fighting for the “D” Division title, for which they are the No. 8 seed in the bracket.
Last year, the Jumbos went down to the wire against the Hobart Statesmen and fell just short in the Conroy Cup Championship, losing a dramatic 5-4 match that ended their season. In that tournament, the Jumbos were the 25th-ranked team in the country and carried the No. 1 seed in the Conroy Division. But this year, the Jumbos will have to square off against the No. 1 seed in the first round, as they take on NESCAC foe Colby to open up the tournament.
Just two weeks ago, the Jumbos showed some renewed fight in a 7-2 loss to the Mules in the consolation round of the NESCAC Championships, and will look for a stronger showing in this weekend’s rematch.
“Our hardest match is definitely going to be the first since we’re playing Colby,” sophomore Elliot Kardon said. “We’re the underdogs, but if we all show up ready to play we’ll have a good shot.”
Kardon will square off against Peter Gabranski of the Mules, who he’s only been able to beat in two meetings earlier this year. But in what is likely his last match of the year from the No. 6 position, Kardon will be looking to make other adjustments to get closer to his Colby opponent.
“I need to work on my aggressive shots and step up for more winning shots,” Kardon said. “I’ll be playing a kid I’ve seen twice this year and I look forward to getting another shot at him.”
The Jumbos should also benefit from sophomore Zach Schweitzer coming back to full form. After battling a groin injury earlier in the year, he made his return in the NESCACs, but has had more than two weeks off to continue his recovery. Last time out against Colby, he took down No. 2 Trey Simpson in a marathon of a match, 11-5, 11-5, 10-12, 10-12, 11-3.
The two weeks he missed meant the Jumbos slipped further in the rankings than they expected, according to Kardon, and his absence made their challenge harder with such a tricky matchup in the first round.
After that opening match, the Jumbos will face either No. 28 Haverford College or No. 29 Georgetown University, the latter a team that the Jumbos handled easily in last year’s Conroy Cup.
But the story of the weekend will largely be determined by that first matchup with the Mules, and the Jumbos feel prepared to take them on after a week of strong practice, even in the face of recent results.
“Historically we haven’t beaten them,” Kardon said. “But they’re dealing with some injuries and if we all show up to play we’ll have a good shot.”
The Jumbos head down to New Haven tomorrow morning and will take on Colby at 11 a.m. that same day.
Seeded last, the Jumbos will be hoping to pull off a shocking upset and take the Conroy Cup, but will largely be looking for a weekend in which they surprise much of the squash world.
“We’re expecting to have a strong outing,” sophomore Hugo Meggitt said. “If we stay mentally focused and are prepared for that first match we think we can win and from there pull off a big upset and win our division.”