Rochester’s No.4-ranked squash team struck tin this weekend. The Yellowjackets received a stinging defeat at the paws of Yale’s second ranked Bulldogs, 7-2.
UR recovered from their first loss, however, to defeat No.17-ranked Middlebury College, 9-0. Every Rochester player defeated his Middlebury opponent in three straight sets.
“The Middlebury game was not simple as each of their players is accomplished,” Coach Martin Heath said. “They are currently ranked No. 17 and have international players coming to study and play squash. The 9-0 score line reflected the quality and depth of our squad, though it didn’t compensate the Yale loss.”
Rochester went balls to the wall against Yale but was quickly driven deep along the rails, losing the first three matches.
“Overall, Yale was more match-ready as they have already played (No. 5) Cornell and (No. 1) Trinity since the beginning of the term,” Heath said. “In contrast, this was our first match [of the term]. As time progresses, I’m sure the team will be more battle-ready.”
Once the balls started getting hot, so did Yale’s crowd.
“They had the momentum, and also at their home venue they had the crowd to help them along,” said Heath. “From then it was always going to be an uphill battle.”
Rochester’s No. 1, Benjamin Fischer, won a tough five-set match against Yale’s top man.
“I always find it hard to play on a 4-wall-glass court, because it is such a different game,” Fischer said. “The ball bounces differently and it’s harder to see.”
“Beni Fischer has grown in stature as a captain, and demonstrated this by clinching a very tight encounter against Hywel Robinson from Wales,” Heath said. “Both of these players are some of the best in collegiate squash, and it is a testament to Beni’s personal professionalism and team spirit that allowed him to clinch victory.”
Adam Perkiomaki won a three set match in the number seven slot.
“Adam was the star of the day and destroyed his more experienced opponent, the Irish internationalist John Roberts. He showed incredible focus, determination and killed the ball into the nick on any loose ball,” Heath said.
“Before my match, I watched our guys lose some tough games we should have won,” Periomaki said. “The losses were disappointing for all of us, so, when I got on court I was determined to add something positive to the overall match.”
UR faced Yale twice last year, losing 3-6 and 4-5, respectively.
Senior Hameed Ahmed, who lost 11-9 at the No. 4 position, was optimistic about the Yellowjackets’ season even with the loss.
“As a team, we were not ready to challenge them,” Ahmed said. “But I do believe that the hard work we have put in during the past months will pay off in the end. We are looking forward to playing a bunch of competitive matches against No. 1 Trinity and No. 3 Princeton.”
This Saturday, the Yellowjackets will hope to leave a stinging memory for Trinity College, the country’s top-ranked team that has won 12 straight national titles.
Otis is a member of the class of 2011.