Squash | Men stay undefeated as women improve to 1-1
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 30, 2012 11:11
Though the winter season is barely two weeks old, the men’s and women’s squash teams have already gotten off to promising starts. And on Wednesday, both teams continued to build momentum, with the No. 29 men’s team improving to 4-0 with a win over MIT and the No. 24 women’s team moving to 1-1 with a win over No. 25 Wellesley.
For the men, the early-season success has been unquestionably led by co-captains Jeremy Ho, a junior, and Zachary Schweitzer, a sophomore, along with newly-hired coach Joseph McManus. Against the Engineers, Tufts benefited from wins by Schweitzer and Ho, as well as freshman Aditya Advani, sophomore Hugo Meggitt and freshman Brandon Weiss.
“The matches that we won were decisive wins, while the matches that we lost were generally in four or five games,” Schweitzer said. “It was a good sign that we were contentious throughout the whole lineup.”
Arguably the most impressive win was the one that clinched the match. Tied two sets a piece, Meggitt pulled out the win with an 11-7 fifth set.
“The last two games were drawn out to 2-2 and we needed one to clinch the victory,” Ho said. “Credit for pulling out the victory goes to an amazing performance from Hugo Meggitt at the No. 4 slot, who came back from 0-2. [Meggitt] did a great job, considering he just moved up the ladder from No. 6.”
The victory over MIT marks the fourth straight strong performance from the Jumbos, and was the first match where they were realistically challenged by their opponents. Early-season matchups with No. 55 University of Vermont, No. 31 Boston University, and No. 34 Boston College were all won easily, but the triumph over the Engineers was a display of the team’s newfound focus under new leadership.
“To the last man, they have all been working hard in practice and they deserved a good start,” McManus said. “The captains were a key part in this because I was not hired until just before the season began. Jeremy and Zach have done a nice job keeping the team focused and motivated.”
Meanwhile, the women’s team came into its second match of the season looking for a first victory after a close but promising loss to No. 22 Boston College, and the team captured that win, 5-4, over No. 25 Wellesley College.
“Coming into [the match], we all knew we needed to win,” senior co-captain Jessica Rubine said. “Everyone’s head was in it, and overall we played really solidly.”
Rubine certainly contributed to the victory, defeating her opponent in three games 11-3, 11-4, and 11-6 at the No. 1 position for the Jumbos.
According to senior co-captain Hafsa Chaudhry, Rubine’s improvement was evident and it was clear she knew how important an individual victory for her team would be.
“While I didn’t get to watch the whole match, I could tell [Rubine] was playing really well and certainly dominating the match,” Chaudhry said. “I’m extremely proud of her.”
Meanwhile, Chaudhry was not able to pull out an individual victory, losing in four close games to her Wellesley opponent 10-12, 8-11, 11-9, 9-11.
“It was a tough match, but with slight adjustments I know I could’ve pulled through with a victory,” Chaudhry said. “I definitely feel prepared for our contests this weekend, and know we can even pull out a 9-0 win against Wellesley next semester.”
But with two three-game victories for sophomore Paige Dahlman at No. 2 and senior Risa Myers at No. 6, the team was able to put together enough individual victories to win the match.
“While all the games in Risa’s match were won by a score of 12-10, it was wonderful to see her hold her own and win in three games,” Chaudhry added. “Wellesley has a very different style of play than we’re used to, but it was great to see everyone adjust so seamlessly.”
Rubine and Chaudhry attribute both their own and the team’s improvement to a deep coaching staff, including Edwin Lennox and Eric Lamsa, both players on the Pro Squash Tour (PST). McManus, meanwhile, is the CEO of the Tour and has organized several outings for the team, including a trip to a match in the PST Boston Open.