The UR men’s squash team journeyed to Annapolis, Md. to face some tough competition. They pulled out individual wins and were pleased with their overall performance.

UR’s first match was on Friday afternoon against the United States Naval Academy, ranked 10th in the nation.

Navy’s dominant 9-0 win didn’t come as much of a surprise to the UR team – only sophomore Max Benjamin, playing in the No. 5 position, was able to win a single game against Navy.

The real success of the weekend came against 23rd ranked George Washington University.

UR came into the weekend ranked 26th in the nation. They knew that if they wanted to compete in a higher division at the College Squash Association Nationals at Harvard University in a month, they would have to be ranked no lower than 24th.

The players knew that defeating GWU was essential in helping the Yellowjackets improve their seeding.

“This was really a do-or-die match in terms of our ability to move up the rankings this season,” Head Coach David Kay said.

UR has had a rivalry with GWU for years now. They sought vengeance for their loss at last year’s CSA Nationals, when GWU beat UR 6-3. This time, the Yellowjackets came out on top with a 5-4 win.

Playing at the No. 2 position, senior Gen Izumida won in four close games, coming back from being down 8-6 in two of the games.

Freshman Jamie Lynn came back from being down 2-0 in games to eventually winning his match, 3-2.

The match of the weekend, though, was played by senior Dave Sokoloff against GWU’s Mike Greenwald.

According to Assistant Coach Matt Dankner, Sokoloff showed impressive grit and determination to come out with a win after being down 8-4 in the fifth and final game.

After fighting off five match points, Sokoloff was able to win the fifth game 10-8, and the match for UR 5-4.

“This match was indicative of the increased commitment and tenacity that the entire team has begun to show during matches,” Coach Kay said. “The team’s success over the weekend can be credited to a tough fitness regimen imposed by Assistant Coach Matt Dankner.”

“Matt has been great at getting the guys used to working hard in practice so they can push through tough matches,” Kay said. “We won almost all of our five-game matches over the weekend. With four weeks before Nationals, the team will take its fitness up to the next level.”

After defeating GWU, the Yellowjackets slaughtered the University of Virginia 9-0 later that day. In other play, UR also won two non-intercollegiate, friendly matches 9-0 against Navy Junior Varsity and Team Annapolis.

“With this win [against GWU] we have a real chance to get in the third division for nationals,” Coach Kay said. “We have tough matches coming up against Hamilton College and St. Lawrence University in two weeks. If we can do well in those matches we will have a lot of momentum going into nationals at Harvard.”

With five wins so far this season, the team is looking to end the season strongly in their remaining three matches.

The Yellowjackets’ next match will be held at Hamilton College on Feb. 9.

The College Squash Association Men’s Nationals at Harvard University run from Feb. 25 to Feb. 27.

Ogorek can be reached aogorek@campustimes.org.



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