Men’s and women’s squash stays strong

By Jack Vissicchio ’17

While the majority of Hamilton students were enjoying winter break by relaxing and binge-watching Netflix, the men and women’s squash teams were on the cold Hill squaring off against some of their biggest rivals. 

The women’s season got off to a very successful start, achieving a big 7-2 victory against rival 22nd ranked Colby. The women’s team experience a comeback victory with the help of Isabelle Weisman ’15 at the fifth position, who overcame a two game deficit to win in five. Grace Munschauer ’18 also  showed impressive poise to collect a win in her first collegiate match.

Beating Colby was one of the women’s pre-season goals of the season and the momentum carried over into a very successful following weekend at Mount Holyoke and Amherst College. The 17th ranked women won three out of their four matches, racking up wins against 26th-ranked Mount Holyoke, 27th-rankedConnecticut College and 21st-ranked Wesleyan while falling to number 18th-ranked Amherst.

The women received solid contributions up and down the line-up throughout the weekend, but the efforts of Weisman  and Haley Connor ’18 stood out as both went 4-0 in their individual matches.

By the end of the weekend Weisman  moved up to fourth on the team’s all-time wins list with 43, and Elizabeth Morris ’15 moved into a tie for eighth place on the program’s win list close behind with 41 wins. With seven matches remaining in their college careers, both have a chance to move into second and third place respectively on the program’s all-time wins list by the end of the season. Not just the seniors are having impressive seasons. Connor ’18 and Rafiatou Ouro Aguy ’18 have compiled impressive records of 7-2 and 6-3 this year.

The women are currently ranked 17th in the country but seemed poised to continue their climb up the national rankings and potentially eclipse last year’s ranking of 14th in the nation.  It has been more of a bumpy ride for the men’s team as they currently sit below .500 with a 4-5 record.  The men, unfortunately, suffered a disappointed defeat to rival 23rd-ranked Colby. Josh Wolpert ’16 and Teddy Black ’15 had the strongest showing, pushing their matches to four games at the number one and two spots respectively.

The men, although disappointed, were not deterred by the defeat and moved on to come away with wins in two out of four matches the next weekend. The men’s team defeated 27th-ranked Stanford 6-3 and won a close 5-4 matches against 25th ranked Connecticut College in their most exciting win of the season. The men received a clutch contribution from Jonathon Ruth ’18 who won the deciding match against Connecticut in four games. It was the men’s first 5-4 win of the season, after winning multiple 5-4 matches last season.

The men were unable to build on their big win against Connecticut, losing to 21st-ranked Amherst and 20th-ranked Wesleyan. However, they showed some positive signs of improvement, specifically in their match against Amherst. Marc Dudzik ’16 and Ruth were able to get victories, and four other matches were pushed to at least four games. Overall, Dudzik was the most successful over the weekend, winning three matches at the number four position.

The improvement of the men’s team is impressive, as they have been no strangers to adversity this season.  They have tried their best to bounce back from the loss of their number-one player in the pre-season, Tucker Hamlin ’17 and early first-year contributor Carter Sanders ’18. The team has shown an admirable quality of resiliency and toughness in their efforts, with players like Ruth ’18 stepping up their game to do their part to help fill the void.

Coming up, both the men and women have their sights set on Connecticut College, Middlebury and Franklin and Marshall this weekend at Middlebury College. They also have their final home match of the season coming up against St. Lawrence University on Jan. 31.

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