Squash teams playing up to expectations

By Jack Vissicchio ’17

The men’s and women’s squash teams recently kicked off their 2014-2015 campaigns looking to improve on last year’s success. So far, both teams have  shown signs of their potential but are both looking to establish a signature victory to announce their arrival as contenders in the highly competitive NESCAC.

The teams put in a lot of hard work in preparation for the early matches. Both the men’s and women’s teams have been fighting a multitude of injuries. But they are regaining many of their players and look to use the numerous breaks that split up the first half of the season to get healthy.

The men’s season got off to a slightly disappointing start, as their two early loses have been 9-0 at the hands of No. 13 Bates and No. 11 Williams. Walker Lourie ’15 and Peter Harrison ’16 contributed the most in the effort against Bates, as both seniors pushed their opponents to tight five set matches. But the team has not been discouraged by the early setbacks, and have rebounded quickly, going on to compile dominating wins over  No. 38 Colgate and No. 34 Tufts.

The 2-2 start is understandable, as the Continentals are still trying to resuffle the top of their lineup after losing Tucker Hamlin ’17 to a torn ACL in the preseason. Hamlin was expected to play a large role for the Continentals this season as he was number one on the singles ladder when he went down with his injury. In order to overcome this obstacle and achieve their high aspirations for the season, the men must receive a greater total collective effort from its top upperclassmen Teddy Black ’15, Mac Pivirotto ’15 and Josh Wolpert ’15,  as well as from their deep first-year class.

Encouragingly, the underclassmen seem to be up to the task. Three first-years, Carter Sanders ’18, Atticus Jones ’18 and David Laub ’18, have already compiled their first career collegiate wins and look ready to consistently contribute. Hamlin commented, “the addition of several new first-years, along with motivational leader, Pete Michailidis ’16, are really helping the team as they battle injuries.” Hamlin continued, “So far, we have met expectations against our opponents; however, the season only will get tougher as January matches will define the season.” This early success of the first-year class seems to bode well for the men’s team’s future success, as these underclassmen can only be expected to improve throughout the season as they gain experience.

The women, led by senior and two-time NESCAC all-conference player Hillary Gray ’15, are coming off one of their strongest seasons in team history at 13-7. Expectations for the 16th ranked ladies were very high as they looked ready to build of last years budding momentum. However, a 2-2 start after tough losses to highly ranked Bates and Williams seems to have temporarily cooled that  momentum somewhat. 

Nevertheless, there is reason to believe that the Continentals, behind the calming demeanor of the reigning NESCAC coach of the year Jamie King, are finally ready to overcome a top-ranked opponent. The women have shown their great potential in convincing victories over Tufts and Colgate. Strong play from Elizabeth Morris ’15, Isabelle Weisman ’15 and Gray in last weekend’s 2014 Division III Squash Invitational at Wesleyan provides reasons to believe that the women will emerge a stronger force than last year in the NESCAC. 

Looking forward, although both teams have not yet been able to corral a signature victory to jumpstart their seasons, they have  highly anticipated upcoming matches with archrival Colby on Jan. 11. This provides both squads with a big opportunity to break through and something for them to work for as they practice over Winter Break.

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