Sports

Women’s squash, men’s squash falls to nationally-ranked opposition

No. 5 Princeton, No. 2 Penn prove too much as men’s, women’s teams go a combined 1-8

By
Contributing Writer
Friday, February 6, 2015

After dominating their opponents last week, the men’s and women’s squash teams faced some stiffer competition this week. The No. 11 women were particularly busy, defeating Williams but falling to four other teams, while the No. 13 men lost all four of their matches.

The weekend got off to a promising start for the women (5-6), who kept their momentum rolling in a 7-2 victory over Williams (12-6). Quincy Beck ’18 led the way at the number one slot, coming away with an impressive 11-7, 11-5, 11-0 win. It wasn’t quite as easy for her teammates, who had to fight hard for their matches. At the four and five positions, Mina Shakarshy ’15 and Isabel Scherl ’17 each secured wins in the final game.

Captain Alex White ’15 said she was impressed by Beck’s play, calling her one of the best squash players the program has seen in a while.

“Beck played amazingly well against Williams,” White said. “She is super athletic and really hard-working.”

On the men’s side, the Ephs (11-7) proved to be too much to handle, as they defeated Bruno (5-6) by a final score of 6-3. It was a tough loss for the Bears, as three of their defeats were decided in the fifth and final game. Thomas Blecher ’18, Oliver Booth ’16 and Charlie Blasberg ’18, a Herald sports columnist, recorded victories on the day.

Saturday saw the women compete against both Stanford (4-9) and Princeton (8-2). In the early afternoon, it looked like Bruno had a good chance of upsetting the No. 10 Cardinal, but the Bears came up one match short in a 5-4 loss. Bruno got wins from the fourth through seventh slots and was just one game away at the third position from claiming the victory. Later in the day, No. 5 Princeton cruised past the Bears, dominating from start to finish in a 9-0 win.

Despite the loss, White felt confident that the squad would be capable of taking down Stanford if the teams were to meet in the NCAA tournament. “It really could’ve gone either way,” she said.

The men didn’t fare too much better against the Tigers (5-5), falling by a score of 7-2. Blecher and Booth once again proved to be the bright spots for the team, each winning their matches in four games.

Captain and Herald sports columnist Jack Blasberg ’16 noted the strong play of both Blecher and Booth, saying that they will be an integral part of the team as it pushes toward the national tournament.

Sunday and Wednesday were similar stories, with both the men’s and women’s teams falling to Penn (men 7-5 and women 11-1) and Yale (men 9-3 and women 9-3). The women knew they were in a for a test against the No. 2 Quakers, and they simply did not have the firepower to pull off the upset. The final score was 8-1, with Bruno’s only win coming on a match default. On Wednesday, the Bears lost 9-0 to the Bulldogs.

Though the men suffered two 9-0 defeats, Jack Blasberg was quick to point out that it isn’t always about the final result. Playing against some of the highest-ranked teams in the country is “a really good opportunity to go out there with an underdog mentality and use a little bit of a different strategy,” he said. “We just have to play smart squash and make sure to eliminate errors and opportunities for our opponents.”

The men’s and women’s teams look to the weekend, as they prepare to square off against Dartmouth Friday night and Harvard Sunday afternoon.

White said she always looks forward to the Dartmouth match because the teams are typically ranked within a couple spots of each other. “Our team has been playing really well and trying to close out matches when we have the opportunities, so against Dartmouth, it will be good to see where everyone is at,” she said.

Jack Blasberg echoed this sentiment, noting that the Dartmouth match will likely be a good gauge for the upcoming national tournament. “We just need to go out there and give it our all, and try to learn what we can from these matches.”

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