The Yellowjacket squash team had an up-and-down ride at the Liberty League Championship tournament during the weekend of Nov. 18-19. They entered the tournament fierce with the fantastic four freshmen leading the charge over Vassar College, which ended in a 9-0 impaling. The early morning sweep seemed like the perfect high to counter Hamilton College. However, the boost wore off for many of the players resulting in a 6-3 loss.
They climbed back into the driver’s seat Sunday morning against Hobart College as the Yellowjackets squeaked past them, 5-4. Yet, the afternoon match against St. Lawrence University proved to be another daunting hurdle which ultimately ended in the team coming up short, 6-3. However, the 2-2 tournament record was enough for the Yellowjackets to rein in a third place finish.
The 9-0 sweep over Vassar certainly epitomized UR’s talent, but also gave Hollywood producers another angle on how to recreate the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Probably the most convincing evidence of the team’s talent was the their sweep across the entire scoreboard. No member of the Yellowjacket squad surrendered a single match to Vassar, thus shortening their stay of execution.
The elite fantastic four kept the top strong. Jim Bristow had a go at his opponent at the No. 1 seat, beating him up 9-2, 9-0, 9-0. His second in command, Yohay Wakabayashi, also fine-tuned his challenger, playing him off with 9-1, 9-0, 9-4 matches. Jamal Callender did a little dancing with his No. 3 foe and wound up waltzing him out of the picture with a 9-4, 10-8, 9-4 showing. Alex Lee phased out the No. 4 spot with his 9-1, 9-0, 9-5 beat down.
Junior Jamie Lynn gutted the No. 5 seat with a 9-6, 9-1, 9-3 sweep. Sophomore Ori Goldman commanded a flawless hat trick-like performance of 9-0, 9-0, 9-0 that speaks for itself.
Sophomore Dan Carson treated his problem at the No. 7 spot with a 9-2, 9-0, 9-0 pain killer. Senior Ellie Biel got tough with his No. 8 challenger finishing him quickly with a score of 9-0, 9-3, 9-0. Senior Steve Gelb didn’t let his guy get a word in at the No. 9 seat, leaving him time to digest the quick 9-0, 9-0, 9-0 spanking afterward.
The Yellowjackets found themselves in a whole new game against Hamilton. In most of the matches, Yellowjacket players ended up on the short end of a five game showdown.
Bristow had no problem handing out his No. 1 seat opponent a clean sweep loss of 9-0, 9-0, 9-3. Wakabayashi and Callender couldn’t hold the middle of the freshmen group together. Wakabayashi was swept out of his match 9-3, 9-0, 9-6. Callender put up a fight, but ultimately wound up losing 9-10, 9-5, 9-4, 9-7. Lee cleaned his challenger 9-0, 9-3, 9-6.
Lynn suffered a crushing loss yielding to his competitor 4-9, 5-9, 9-5, 9-0, 10-8. Goldman also endured Lynn’s devastating fate with a fifth round loss 8-10, 7-9, 9-7, 9-4, 9-2. Carson also went into a game five showdown. However, he emerged victorious, taking down his foe 9-1, 9-5, 4-9, 4-9, 9-6. Biel and Gelb couldn’t stave off their opponents losing three straight, 9-2, 9-4, 9-1 and 9-5, 9-2, 9-1, respectively.
The team rebounded from their disappointing loss by edging past Hobart. Bristow zeused it up with three 9-0 lightning bolts to fry his No. 1 opponent.
Wakabayashi was forced to surrender three quick ones, 9-5, 9-7, 9-2. Callender put up a fight at his No. 2 position, coming off strong in the first two matches, 9-3, 9-2, but then lost his grip with three straight losses, 9-2, 10-8, 9-3. Lee also picked up little headway at the No. 4 slot. He wound up losing, 9-4, 9-0, 2-9, 9-5.
Despite failing at the top, the middle and lower ends of the Yellowjackets’ roster came through. Lynn and Goldman each picked up the slack with three game sweeps. Lynn cleaned out his man, 10-9, 9-2, 9-2 and Goldman took his opponent down 9-7, 9-6, 10-9. Carson and Biel also chipped in to give the Yellowjackets that magic number, five. Carson won 9-3, 6-9, 9-5, 9-2 and Biel swept with 9-2, 9-1, 9-5.
UR closed out their tournament play against St. Lawrence and found little wiggle room. Bristow and Carson both won their seats, making them untouchable throughout the tournament. Biel also defeated his opponent with a 9-0, 5-9, 9-1, 9-3 outing that put him at 3-1 in the tournament. The rest of the team endured tough losses, most of them ending in either four or five matches.
The Liberty League tournament caps the 2006 portion of the squash team’s 2006-07 season. They will return to play in early January.
Serafini is a member of the class of 2008.