Riding the momentum from a second place finish at the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association Championships on Nov. 23, the squash team stole two matches from heavily-favored Hobart College at the Peter Lyman Squash Center last night.

Senior Allen Fitzsimmons won at the top spot, 3-1, and classmate Dave Easwaren was victorious in the third-position, 3-0, though UR fell to the Statesmen, 7-2.

A co-captain and the team’s best player, Fitzsimmons led by example, upsetting 13th-ranked Hobart’s Prateek Patni in four games. Chasing shots all over the court, Fitzsimmons fended off a late comeback to secure the victory.

“Allen kept the ball away from me and was playing really tight. He wasn’t leaving any balls and was getting to every shot,” Patni said following the defeat.

In the third position, Easwaren earned the shutout over Henry Clutsam. Easwaren dominated the match from start to finish, never giving the Hobart junior a chance to come back.

After losing his number-two spot on the ladder to senior Pete Avitable earlier in the season Easwaren has returned to form the past few weeks, winning five in a row and tying for the best individual mark on the team at 5-2.

“I was in about a two-week slump and I was looking to break out of it,” he said. “I was well-rested and in a good mind set and played well.”

“Dave Easwaren really played the best squash I’ve seen him play all year,” Head Coach David Kay said. “He beat his guy in three games and to beat the number-three player from Hobart three-love is incredible.”

Though a 7-2 defeat does not necessarily look pretty in the scorebook, snatching a pair from the talented, experienced Statesmen should give the Yellowjackets a vote of confidence heading into the heart of their schedule.

“The wins were really encouraging. Getting a couple matches shows we can compete,” Easwaren said. “When we go up against the better teams from now on we won’t be expecting to lose like we may have before.”

In its last event before the Thanksgiving holiday, UR earned a runner-up finish at the UCAAs hosted by St. Lawrence University. After falling to Hobart, 9-0 in their first match of the tournament, the Yellowjackets defeated Hamilton College, Vassar College and St. Lawrence to clinch second.

Sophomore Jay Acharya helped UR to a 5-4 win against Hamilton with a victory over a higher-ranked player in the eighth-position.

Later against St. Lawrence, freshman Kelvin Ko notched the first, “big win of his career,” according to Kay. Ko knocked off Gene Ziegler, 3-2. Down two-love, Ko came back to claim three straight games and the win.

“UCAAs were a big success story for us. We faced some much-improved teams in St. Lawrence and, specifically, Hamilton and won both, 5-4,” Kay said. “I was really proud of the guys and their work ethic.”

Now a third of the way through the season, Kay likes where his squad stands. “As a team we’re exceeding expectations. We’re on track but there is still room to surprise. I’d really like to see us winning matches that on paper we’re not supposed to,” he said. “We’re setting ourselves up to be in position to win those matches. The bulk of our matches are in January and February and those will be real tough. But the work we’ve put in regarding fitness and mental toughness should pay off.”

Gerton can be reached at mgerton@campustimes.org.



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