Competing in four matches during the Pioneer Valley Invitational with tri-hosts Smith, Amherst and Mount Holyoke Fri. - Sun., Jan.14-16, Wesleyan took part in two matches Saturday and a pair of matches Sunday. The Cardinals dropped matches to top-15 ranked rivals Franklin and Marshall (0-9) and St. Lawrence (1-8) the first day. On the second day, the matches became more favorable as Wesleyan downed Conn. College, 7-2, for the second time this season. The final match pitted the Cardinals against Columbia for a result that came down to the wire. Columbia came away with a 5-4 victory.
Despite the 1-3 team record, the Cardinals got stellar play from #1 standout John Steele '14 (photo) as he won victorious in three of his four outings. For his effort, Steele was named College Squash Association/Harrow Sports Player of the Week. For the CSA announcement, click < here >. Three other Cardinal players went 2-2 over the weekend - #2 Matt Candal '11, #4 Zander Nassikas '14 and #8 Lucas Wherry '13.
The Cardinals returned to action in another invitational hosted by Yale Sun., Jan. 23. The Cardinals had just one match, playing Hobart and downing the #25 ranked rival, 7-2. Steele improved his record to an outstanding 12-2 on the season with a 3-0 win. Candal also was a 3-0 victor as the Cardinals took each of the top six spots on the ladder. Wesleyan added a home match vs. Fordham on Sunday, defeating the Rams, 9-0, while resting two regulars - Steele and #5 Jeff Berman '14. Wesleyan took eight of nine matches by a 3-0 score.
Before the Sunday matches, both the men's and women's squash teams went to New York City Sat., Jan. 22 to play on the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions courts at Grand Central Station with former World #1 player Peter Nicol. To see a complete release on the visit, click < here >.
Wesleyan then competed in the annual Little Three matches, this year hosted by Amherst Sat., Jan. 29. The Cardinals fell to the host, 8-1, with Steele coming away as the lone victor. Amherst came into the match ranked 18th nationally while Wesleyan was 21st. The Cardinals played the match without regular #2 competitor Candal. Wesleyan also fell to #11 Williams, 9-0. Again Steele was the standout as he took a game from his Eph rival, the only Cardinal to do so. Steele's foe was ranked #37 nationally. Steele sits #85.
Up next for the squad is the annual NESCAC Championship Fri.-Sun., Feb. 4-6 with all opening day and susequent main bracket matches at Trinity and consolation matches at Wesleyan. Seedings for the tournament are due out later this week with Wesleyan a likely seventh seed in both men's and women's play based on the most current national rankings.