UR returned home to the squash courts this past week in hopes of finding their groove. After completing two disappointing weekend events at St. Lawrence University and Yale University, the team looked for some solace back at UR.
The Yellowjackets opened up a three home game stretch that aimed to get UR out of the loss column and back into competition. Despite the home court play, the Yellowjackets were unable to turn the advantage to their favor completely.
The team started its home game series against No. 23 Hamilton College. Hamilton showed its talent on the court, sweeping five of the nine Yellowjacket players. Co-captain and sophomore Patrick Harris defended the No. 1 seat for his team winning the first game 9-6. He dropped the next two to his opponent 9-2, 9-2. Despite being down 2-1 after the first three games, Harris refused to quit. He narrowly defeated his Hamilton opponent in the fourth game 10-8 and squeaked past in the fifth game by the same 10-8 score.
“It’s great to have a guy who is a good co-captain,” head coach Martin Heath said. “The guys expect him to win all the time and he handles the pressure very well, which is why the team looks up to him.”
After dropping the first home game of the season to Hamilton 7-2, UR tested their skills against No. 15 the U.S. Naval Academy. The team was unable to find an edge at any of the positions losing to Navy 9-0.
The Yellowjackets looked to rebound from two disappointing home losses by challenging No. 33 Northeastern University. The Yellowjackets dominated their opponents, sweeping six of the nine seats and winning two other positions to crush Northeastern 8-1.
Harris downed his opponent at the No. 1 seat 9-3, 9-3, 9-1 to earn his eighth and team leading, win on the season. Senior Jay Acharya dominated at the No. 3 position to sweep his Northeastern foe 9-2, 9-2, 9-0. Sophomore Jamie Lynn turned in a great performance at the No. 4 position with a five-game victory. Lynn won games one and three 9-7, 9-3 and drove it home in the fifth with an overpowering 9-4 victory.
The two freshmen occupying the No. 5 and No. 6 positions, Ori Goldman and Dan Carson, held their own. Goldman blew his Northeastern opponent out with a sweeping 9-6, 9-5, 9-0 victory and Carson punished his with a 9-0, 9-5, 9-0 sweep.
“I like Goldman’s game a lot,” Heath said. “He plays the cleanest squash, and when he plays well he’s devastating.”
Freshman Rob Pakan shutdown his opponent at the No. 7 seat winning three of four matches 9-2, 4-9, 9-5, 9-5. Senior Drew Aldrich shut out his opponent at the No. 8 seat 9-3, 9-4, 9-3. Junior Elie Biel swept the No. 9 position 9-7, 9-1, 9-3.
This season, UR has been plagued by a series of injuries and absences. They’ve even undergone drastic in-house cleaning with the departure of three former seniors. The team is holding strong at No. 29 in the nation, but looks to move up to the No. 25 bracket, where they ended last season. The win over Northeastern and Wesleyan puts the team in good standing to repeat last year’s performance.
With four more games left, UR still has a way to go in their season, wrapping it all up with the College Squash Association Championships in Princeton, NJ.
The team’s final home game takes place against No. 27 Hobart College today at 6 p.m.
Serafini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org