M. and w. squash both trample Tufts

Friday, February 9, 2007

For the men’s and women’s squash teams, Wednesday night was a performance that will not soon be forgotten. In the women’s squad’s final home match of the season, the Bears crushed Tufts University 9-0 without dropping a game, and the men were victorious, 7-2, on a night full of emotion. The women improved to 4-6 and the men improved to 2-7 on the season.

The women’s team was far too strong for Tufts and rested multiple regulars. Some players were as many as three spots above their usual positions in anticipation of the blowout. The eighth-ranked Bears performed impressively across the board, bouncing back from two close losses this past weekend.

“We did well and stayed on our game,” said Kali Schellenberg ’10 after her 9-1, 9-0, 9-0 win. Sarah Roberts ’10, Herald Staff Writer Nathalie Pierrepont ’07 and Denia Craig ’08 all “triple bageled” their opponents, winning by scores of 9-0, 9-0, 9-0. Brown also received victories from classmates Zarah Rahman ’07, co-captain Erin Andrews ’07 and co-captain Katie Lew ’07, who had a quite a cheering section to celebrate her final match in the Pitzzitola Center.

“The seniors definitely were a little sad and emotions were running high,” said Head Coach Stuart LeGassick. “But it was a good match for distractions because we knew that we should win this match if we played well.”

LeGassick also mentioned that while this match was important to the team, it was really focusing on this weekend and matches at Yale on Saturday and Cornell on Sunday. Megan Cerullo ’08 agreed.

“We are really excited,” Cerullo said. “Yale is always good and they will be a good warm-up for Cornell. The Cornell match will decide where we are placed for the Howe Cup.”

Yale is currently ranked fourth in the nation and Cornell ninth. The top eight teams make the first division of the Howe Cup. A win over Cornell is crucial for Brown because a loss would likely allow Cornell to leapfrog Brown into the eighth spot.

The men’s team, meanwhile, snapped its three-game losing streak with the win over the Jumbos. North Whipple ’08 started the day off on the right foot by controlling the entirety of his match at the No. 4 spot. Whipple varied his shots constantly and kept his opponent on his heels for the balance of the match en route to an easy three-game win.

Brown also benefited from several comeback victories. Adam Greenberg ’10 at the No. 3 spot and co-captain Patrick Haynes ’07 at No. 5 both triumphed after trailing early on. Greenberg came back from an 8-1 deficit in the second game to win the game, 10-9. Haynes found himself down 6-1 in the first game, but pulled out the 9-7 win, jumping him to a three-game victory. Wins also came from Edward Cerullo ’08, Alex Heitzmann ’10 and Brett Camarda ’09.

The match of the night, however, was at No. 1, where co-captain Dan Petrie ’07 battled Tufts’ Jake Gross. Petrie, who has been playing very well recently, started slowly, splitting the first two games.

“Dan might have been distracted early on because it was his last home match. He was not sharp in the first few games,” LeGassick said. “Dan played really well against two outstanding opponents last weekend, and this might have caused a bit of a letdown tonight.”

Gross sustained a strong start, but Petrie stuck with him and the two rallied back and forth in seemingly endless points. Though Brown had already claimed the overall victory, the match received the attention it deserved. All other matches had finished, putting the focus of all spectators and players on Petrie, who was trying to pull one last match out in the Pitz.

By the middle of the second game, Petrie gained the advantage over his tired opponent, even as Gross’ deep breathing became audible to those in the crowd. Between each drawn-out point, Gross had his hands on his knees. However he continued to test Petrie, managing to grab a 2-1 lead in games, though each point was closely contested. Petrie came back and pushed the match to the decisive fifth game. Emotions ran high as both players were upset with let calls. Each point was characterized by a flurry of shots and Petrie dove to the ground on multiple occasions, stretching out to answer Gross’ shots. In the end, Petrie pulled it out, completing the storybook ending with a 9-7 win in the fifth game.

“I just had to grind it out. I was not playing well but I told myself to just grind it out, it’s the last home match. Just grind it out,” Petrie said.

The men’s team will be on the road this weekend, heading to Yale and Cornell as well.