Squash performs well in tournaments

On the last weekend of January, the Colby men’s squash team, ranked 19th nationally, capped off their weekend with a flurry of victories over the University of Virginia (5-4), Tufts (8-1), Bowdoin (8-1) and Connecticut College (9-0). The 10-5 Mules hoped to carry on their success, traveling down to Hartford, Connecticut for the NESCAC championships the following weekend. The fifth-seeded Colby team looked to improve from a respectable 6th place last year in a very competitive league. The 20th-ranked women’s team followed suit as they beat Connecticut College at home (8-1) on January 31 to head into the championships on a winning note. The 8-8 Mules travelled down to the event hosted by Wesleyan and Trinity as the eight seed, looking to improve from their previous eighth place finish.

The Colby women’s squash team looked for an upset over the fifth-ranked Trinity team, but the Bantams shut down the Mules in a decisive 8-1 victory. Colby’s nine position, Ren Robinson ’17, had the lone victory, winning in straight sets. With the loss, Colby played the 17th-ranked Bowdoin team in the consolation game. For the second time this season, the Polar Bears scraped by with a 5-4 win, forcing the Mules into the 7th/8th place match on Sunday. Colby had four individual victories that resulted from definitive 3-0 wins, but the Bowdoin team took every other match to five-set games as their talented team overwhelmed the Mules.

Colby, an underdog once again, searched for an upset against the 18th-ranked and sixth-seeded Hamilton team on Sunday. They did just that, cruising to a 7-2 victory after taking the top five and eight positions and settling for eighth place. The women’s team proved to be composed under pressure. Both Mikaela Johnson ’16 and Cricket di Galoma ’18 trailed behind early (2-1/2-0), but then raced back, closing out the remaining sets in precise fashion.

Although they placed exactly where they were seeded, the Women’s team looks to build off their solid result and prepare for Nationals.

With the 5th seed, the streaking Colby men’s team earned a first round bye in the tournament and faced the 19th-ranked Williams in the quarterfinals. The team battled hard but ultimately failed to win a match in a 9-0 defeat. Third position CJ Smith ’16 and seventh position Hugh Doherty ’17 both brought their match to a fifth set whilst two other players fell 3-1.  Looking to bounce back from their morning defeat, the Mules faced 22nd-ranked Amherst College in a consolation game to decide who would play for fifth place the following day. Colby secured a 6-3 victory and another day in Hartford. Smith, Patrick Mcarthy ’17 and Matt Epstein ’18 all had straight set wins for the Mules.

Colby faced the sixth-seeded and 20th-ranked Wesleyan Cardinals early Sunday morning, looking to end the championship on a high note. Unfortunately the Mules came up short, losing 5-4 and settling for sixth place. The loss was not without merit, however,  as Epstein made quick work of his opponent to win 3-0.  Doherty additionally showed strong composure under adversity, climbing back from a 2-1 deficit and definitively taking the last two sets (11-6, 11-7). Although the Mules returned empty handed, a sixth place finish is far from disappointing. When asked about Colby’s NESCAC championship performance, first position Will Mcbrian ’18 remarked, “the NESCAC championship had its ups and downs, but that is behind us. We are looking forward to improving our ranking at Nationals.” The Mules will travel down to New Haven, Connecticut on February 19 to participate in the College Squash Association Men’s championship hoping to do just that.

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