In its first match under Head Coach David Kay, the men’s squash team fell to Denison University, 8-1 at the Cleveland Racquet Club last Friday.

The 13th-ranked Big Red swept the first eight matches from the Yellowjackets before junior Sunit Chaudhry won at the ninth spot. After dropping the first game to Denison’s Chris Hubbell, Chandry reeled off three of the next four to secure a 5-9, 9-7, 9-0, 4-9, 9-2 victory.

“There are three people trying out for the ninth spot and Sunit played well and snuck [a win] out,” Kay said. “He just fought harder.”

At the No. 3 position, senior Pete Avitable took Scott Persing to five games before falling, 5-9, 10-8, 1-9, 10-8, 9-4.

Senior Allen Fitzsimmons was defeated at the top by Javier Castilla. The co-captain fell in consecutive games, 9-6, 9-0, 9-0.

In the middle of the ladder, juniors Gen Izumida and Dave Sokoloff each took their opponents to four games. After winning the opening game 9-5, Izumida dropped the last three at the fourth spot. In the No. 5 position, Sokoloff lost 9-10, 9-0, 9-3, 9-2.

“I was playing well in the beginning when I won the first game. But I got tired in the second game and lost it from there,” Izumida said. “After that my opponent took control, winning all the shots. He really only made a few mistakes.”

Despite the opening loss, Kay sees the match as a good opportunity for the Yellowjackets to identify and learn from their weaknesses.

“We definitely need to get fitter. There were some matches where fitness was a factor in the outcome. There’s just no excuse for that,” Kay said.

Working on physical conditioning and stamina should allow the Yellowjackets to utilize more of the court while working their opponents even harder.

“Not hitting enough length to drive the opponent to the back of the court hurt us. We’re playing too much in the front without establishing position. Attacking from a weak position just doesn’t work.”

From a fundamental standpoint, Kay wants to see the team playing more aggressively in the future.

“Learning how to win matches and game points is big for us,” he said. “It’s an art form. It’s something you can learn, but we don’t have it yet.”

The team will spend this weekend at the Genesee Valley Club in Downtown Rochester gearing up for the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association Championships on Nov. 22. The entire UR team is entered and each player will be participating individually.

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