Playing in their first competitive matches of the season, the UR men’s squash team placed fourth out of five teams at the Liberty League Championships, which were played at St. Lawrence University on the second to last weekend in November.
Hobart and William Smith College, Hamilton College, St. Lawrence University and Vassar College were the other four universities playing in the championships.
“While the results of the weekend were disappointing, it was great to see the potential of the freshmen,” Head Coach David Kay said. “It is traditionally the case that freshmen do not perform to their potential in their first few matches and perhaps not for the whole year. It was great to see the freshmen perform well.”
Kay added that the team’s number one player, freshman Patrick Harris, performed exceptionally well over the weekend, winning three of his four matches rather handily.
“The success story of the weekend was the freshmen, in particular No. 1 Patrick Harris,” Kay said. “Patrick started his freshman career with three victories and one close loss. He upset the All-American No. 1 from Hobart, Tejvir Rathore, by a score of 3-1. He added dominating 3-0 performances against Hamilton’s Anthony Bardaro and Vassar’s Anshuman Beri.
“His only loss came against St. Lawrence’s new freshman star from Zimbabwe, Dan McElvaine, in a tight 3-1 battle that was the most entertaining match of the weekend,” Kay said. “Patrick showed that he is ready to compete at a high collegiate level and this weekend was a great opening performance.”
Harris says that he is happy with his performance, but that he believes that there is always room for improvement. The team’s coaches feel that conditioning is especially important.
“After this past weekend, our two coaches have emphasized that our fitness is weak,” Harris said. “Losing to St. Lawrence was rough, especially because we beat them last year.
“Playing intense squash for 45 minutes to an hour pushes you physically and mentally. I believe that with an improvement in our fitness and tough practices where we tighten up our shots, our performance on [the] court will improve.”
Besides conditioning, the players also need to gain experience through match play. The team has great potential to perform well. The players just need to become mentally tougher and pull out the wins when they matter most.
“In order to be successful in the remainder of the season, the freshmen need to win, not just perform well, and the upperclassmen need to use their experience and tenacity to pull out close matches,” Kay said.
“Ultimately, it is up to us,” Harris said. “We have possibly the best combination of coaches in college squash. Head Coach Dave Kay has twenty some years of professional coaching experience and can help us technically while Assistant Coach Matt Danker is an accomplished player who can improve our fitness. The season ahead of us keeps us on the road most of January and February against quality teams, and this experience will inevitably help us win the tough matches.”
UR is in competition this weekend with matches scheduled at home against Franklin and Marshall College and St. Lawrence.
Ogorek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.