By Andrew otis
Sweet Jesus, they’re tired.
The ‘Jackets faced off against No. 5 ranked Cornell University, No. 8 Franklin and Marshall College, No. 2 Princeton University and No. 10 University of Pennsylvania this past week. The home team beat Cornell 5-4, Franklin and Marshall 8-1, University of Pennsylvania 7-2 and lost to Princeton 1-8. UR is 10-3.
The toughest win was against Cornell, though in the end UR chewed up the Big Red like a pack of bubblegum or, depending on the analogy one prefers, invaded their natural habitat like global warming did the polar bears.
“The ‘Jackets beat Cornell back in 1994-95 at Cornell during a rebuilding phase,” Coach Martin Heath said. “It was still a great result for us to beat the No. 5 team at their venue.”
As for the loss to Princeton, sophomore Oscar Lopez-Hildalgo was the only victorious ‘Jacket.
“It was an important victory to me,” Lopez said. “What helped me the most during the game was the concentration and the attitude to fight every rally. It was a close match but in the end these two qualities helped me pull out the win.”
Despite the solid overall performance this week, Rochester has suffered from some injuries.
“This weekend we were without No. 3 Joe Chapman, and No. 4 Andres Duany is still recovering from an injury sustained at the beginning of the year,” Heath said. “While we are strong enough and have enough depth to beat F&M and Penn relatively comfortably, [but] we were a little short in the match-up against Princeton, especially at their venue.”
The match-ups for nationals in March are beginning to crystalize. With the rankings remaining the same, it is most likely that No. 4 UR will play Cornell again and, assuming that both No. 1 Trinity and UR win their first matches at nationals, the Yellowjackets will face them in the semi-finals. Trinity has won the crown 12 consecutive times.
These matches will prove exceptionally challenging, especially considering UR has fallen to Yale, Princeton and Trinity — all of whom will most likely attend the tournament — this season.
But Coach Heath has optimism.
“I believe we are capable of beating Yale, Princeton or Trinity on our day. We took Trinity to 6-3 without Duany. I also believe Trinity is more vulnerable in the semi-finals than in the finals given their track record in finals, so we are quite satisfied with our draw,” said Coach Heath.
“To make semis is our goal, and then we can attack Trinity with abandon. Yale and Princeton in the other half will tear chunks out of each other, so whomever makes the final, there are opportunities.”
“The team is ready for Nationals in less than 2 weeks from now,” said Lopez-Hidalgo. “We would not have to play Princeton until the finals (if we both make it). We need to have a good day and a full team to be able to beat them. We beat them last year and we know we can do it again in a big final.”
Otis is a member of
the class of 2011.