As the UR squash team finished up a three-day road trip at the home of the Princeton University Tigers on Sunday, ranked No. 2 according to the Collegiate Squash Association poll, the ‘Jackets quickly found themselves lacking in one area in particular experience.
‘There isn’t a whole lot that separates us from teams like Princeton and Trinity [College], as we are all extremely capable players,” sophomore Fred Reid said. ‘However, we lack the experience as a top team and need to develop some consistency, especially in crucial matches like the ones we had against Harvard [University], Cornell [University] and Yale [University].”
After each player won all of his matches on Friday and Saturday against Franklin ‘ Marshall College and the Naval Academy, UR hit a stumbling block against the No. 2 team, dropping the match, 0-9. Princeton swept eight of the nine positions in straight sets.
The Tigers, a perennial powerhouse, are the fourth team UR has played this season that is ranked in the CSA’s top five nationally.
Princeton, however, was by far the ‘Jackets’ toughest challenge; The Tigers have won each of their head-to-head matches this season, including eight of nine by scores of 9-0.
Head coach Martin Heath is confident his team has learned from the experience of playing a top team like the Tigers.
‘Any loss teaches you something,” Heath said. ‘For us, it was that we need to be more focused in our training, prepare better for matches and provide mini-goals throughout matches. We have a young team, and providing goals might help them be more focused.”
Leading up to Sunday’s matchup, the ‘Jackets hoped to build momentum with games against two Northeast rivals. Eight of nine UR players won in straight sets against Franklin ‘ Marshall on Friday. Freshman Adam Perkiomaki set the tone, giving up just five points at the No. 7 spot.
Against Navy, each ‘Jacket swept his opponent. Junior Jim Bristow, ranked No. 6 in the CSA’s individual poll, gave up just two points en route to a 9-0, 9-0, 9-2 victory at the No. 1 spot.
The three-day road trip was tiring for the team, but the ‘Jackets’ ability to persevere for most of the weekend was a good sign.
‘The best asset we have as a team is our moral support for each other,” Reid said. ‘We’re pretty good at motivating each other keeping positive attitudes even in the face of defeat.”
UR faces its toughest test of the season this Friday, when it takes on No. 1 Trinity College (Connecticut) at home at 7 p.m.
‘We are simply out to do our best this weekend no expectations,” Reid said. ‘If we could pull off a win here or there, then that would be a great bonus and would make some waves in the college squash scene.”
Hilfinger is a member of the class of 2010.