A mere 12 days after coming up just short in a matchup against Yale University who is ranked No. 3 according to the most recent Collegiate Squash Association poll the UR squash team fell just shy of victory again in a 4-5 loss against New York State rival, Cornell University.

Four of the nine matches came down to five sets as the Yellowjackets continued to struggle against top-five teams.

‘Our team played well, and, like some matches this season, the overall result has come down to points,” head coach Martin Heath said. ‘They are a higher ranked team, they are playing at home and so always were going to be hard to beat.”

The match was set up using a five-court system, where the No. 2, 4, 6 and 8 seeds played first, followed by the remaining matchups. After the first round of action, UR found itself in a 2-2 tie with the host team.

The Yellowjackets got solid wins from sophomores Fred Reid and Will Newnham at No. 4 and No. 6, respectively. Meanwhile, sophomore Hameed Ahmed and freshman Joe Chapman struggled to beat their opponents.

‘If there was a turning point, it came early on when we expected to take a 3-1 lead after the first round of matches but found ourselves tied two each,” junior Jim Bristow said.

‘[The] surprising win at No. 2 and a comeback from 2-1 down at No. 8 swung the momentum in [Cornell’s] favor.”

Ahmed dropped his match in straight sets while Chapman took his opponent to five sets, only to be defeated, 5-9, in the fifth game.

In the second round of play, Bristow and freshman transfer Beni Fischer both took their matches to five games and were able to come away victorious.

After defeating his opponent, 9-7 and 9-1, in the first two games, Fischer gave up his next two, 8-10, 1-9. In the fifth game, the most recent addition to the UR roster regained momentum and took the match, 9-5.

Bristow also dug deep to outlast his opponent, finishing with a dominating performance in the fifth set. But it was not enough, as Cornell which is currently ranked No. 4 according to the CSA snatched wins in straight sets at the No. 5 and No. 7 spot over freshman Matt Domenick and junior Yohay Wakabayashi, respectively.

‘There is not much we could have done differently against Cornell,” Bristow said. ‘They are a great team and we played well, but unfortunately, on the day, they were that little bit better.

‘There were four matches that took all five games to decide, and we won two of them,” Bristow continued. ‘You cannot complain too much about a result like this one.”

The rest of the season will be no cupcake for UR. Tonight, the team travels to Hobart College to take on the Statesmen. On Friday and Saturday, the ‘Jackets continue on the road, taking on Franklin ‘ Marshall College and the Naval Academy, before finishing at Princeton University on Sunday. Princeton is ranked No. 2 in the most recent CSA poll.

UR is currently 6-3 in head-to-head matchups and is No. 6 nationally according to the CSA.

After playing against three of the five top-ranked teams already, Heath is hopeful that Nationals on Feb. 22 will hold a better result for his team.

‘Now we have lost three tough matches to higher ranked teams at their home venues,” Heath said. ‘We feel as though the pressure is on them at the National Championships to back up their wins.”

On Feb. 6, UR will face undoubtedly its toughest challenge of the regular season, when it hosts the No. 1 ranked Trinity College in Connecticut.

Following that matchup, the ‘Jackets will face two more schools before heading to the National tournament.

Hilfinger is a member of the class of 2010.



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