The men’s squash team rounded out the 2011-12 regular season on a high note on Saturday, Feb. 4, ousting No. 8 Franklin and Marshall College, 8-1.
In addition to serving as one final tune-up before the CSA National Team Championships — in which the ’Jackets will seek vengeance for their loss in the national semi-finals last year to then No. 1 Trinity College — the matchup with the Diplomats signified the last time three UR seniors would play in Rochester, in front of the home crowd.
It came as no surprise, then, that the class of 2012 played no small role in the systematic derailment of an otherwise potent Franklin and Marshall squad. Three UR seniors combined to go 9-0 against the Diplomats’ second, third and fifth-ranked men.
At No. 2, senior Benjamin Fischer handed the visitors’ Guilherme de Melo a swift 11-6, 11-8, 11-3 defeat to get the ’Jackets out to an early lead.
Classmate Joe Chapman was just as strong at the No. 4 position, wiping clean Alex Arjoon, 11-7, 11-6, 11-8.
Yet the games’ most dominant performance was surely on the part of Yellowjackets’ senior Matt Domenick, who, in the No. 5 spot, relinquished all of 14 points in an 11-4, 11-8, 11-2 dismemberment of the Diplomats’ Aadit Zaveri.
While the seasoned members of the squad made their presence known throughout the day, the ’Jackets’ young supporting cast proved that, though the team would suffer when graduating some of its top players, there was enough young talent poised to take their places that they still managed to win.
Junior Andres Duany ensured this conclusion. At the No. 1 position, Duany made quick work of Gabriel de Melo (11-5, 11-3, 11-9). No. 7 sophomore Karm Kumar (11-7, 11-7, 11-5) and No. 9 junior Juan Pablo Gaviria (11-5, 11-9, 11-6) also posted uncontested wins to bring the Yellowjackets’ sweep count on the day to an astounding six.
Junior Oscar Lopez Hidalgo and freshman Mohamed Abdel Maksoud found more difficulty when taking on their Diplomat opponents, as each surrendered a game to his respective adversary before tacking on another point for the Yellowjackets. Lopez, in the No. 6 position, dropped the first game to Sujat Barua, 8-11, before taking the next three (11-5, 11-4, 11-4). Maksoud, for his part, got off to an early lead (11-7, 11-6) before losing the third game.
The Yellowjackets’ No. 8, however, refused to slip further and put Franklin and Marshall’s Freddy Hernandez away quickly in the fourth game, 11-6.
The No. 4 Yellowjackets have a free schedule until Feb. 17, when they will challenge the nation’s best squads for the national championship.