Men's Squash Places 6th, 3 Spots Above Its Seed, in NESCAC Championship after Wins over Hamilton & Bowdoin, Then Blows Past Vassar
With a pair of upsets under its belt after the first two days of the NESCAC Championship hosted by Trinity, the Cardinals had their sights set on a third victory and a best-ever fifth-place finish in the NESCAC Tournament Sun., Feb. 5. Last year, Wesleyan had its best-ever finish in the tournament when it took eighth place after being seeded seventh. This year, Weseyan was seeded ninth but started off with an exciting 6-3 win over eighth-seeded Hamilton to avenge an earlier loss. That pitted Wesleyan against 11-time defending national champ Trinity in the quarterfinals, and Wesleyan understandably fell, 9-0, though #1 John Steele '14 (right side photo) took his Bantam rival to four games and fell 12-10 in the final game.
Wesleyan then had an opportunity to make up for a 5-4 loss at Bowdoin back on Jan. 18 in Maine, and the Cardinals seized the chance by recording a 5-4 win over the Polar Bears. As a result, the Cardinals moved on to contend with Amherst in the battle for fifth place in the NESCAC tournament. A week ago, Wesleyan fell to Amherst, 6-3, losing four matches by a 3-2 count. In the NESCAC Tournament, Amherst again grabbed a 6-3 victory, leaving Wesleyan in sixth place.
Against Bowdoin, what might be considered the turning point in the match was a 3-2 victory by Blair Corbin '15 (left side photo) at #9. Wesleyan had fallen at #9 in the first meeting with Bowdoin. Steele continued his strong play with a 3-1 win. He stands 13-7 on the year from the top spot. The team's strength in the middle of the ladder was key vs. Bowdoin as #5 Jeff Berman '14, #6 Alex Nunez '14 and #7 Ethan Moritz '14 were all winners with both Nunez and Moritz doing it in three games while Berman needed four.
Winners vs. Amherst were Steele, #4 Zander Nassikas '14 and Berman as Steele and Berman enjoyed a 3-1 weekend of action.
Next up for the team was a journey to Vassar to take on the Brewers in the final regular-season dual match of the year. Wesleyan took advantage of the opportunity to let three little used players take to the court and all came through with a victory as the Cardinals posted a 9-0 win. Winning at #7 was Cameron Rahbar '14 while #8 Keitaro Sagawa '13 and #9 Blake Rosenbaum both won as well. Sagawa prevailed 3-0 while Rahbar and Rosenbaum were 3-1 victors.
Ahead is the annual National Team Championship, this year hosted by Princeton Fri.-Sun., Feb. 17-19. As expected, the Cardinals are surrounded by NESCAC rivals as Amherst, Bowdoin, Conn. College, Hamilton and Colby are all ranked in the 17-24 range and join Wesleyan in the "C" Division. Wesleyan, ranked #19 and seeded third in the division, takes on #22 and sixth-seeded Hamilton in the first round. Either Amherst or Colby will be the Cardinals' opponent in the second round. Wesleya has split a pair of matched with Hamilton this season.