Men’s squash opened its season at the U.S. Squash Intercollegiate Doubles Championship last weekend in Philadelphia. Several ‘Jackets made strong collegiate debuts at the tournament, filling the void left by the four seniors who graduated last season.

Expectations were relatively low based on the team’s inexperience, but the younger ‘Jackets proved more than capable of continuing the team’s success. Head coach Martin Heath successfully got two teams into the event, both comprised of a sophomore and a freshman.

Sophomore Faraz Khan, who was an All-American his freshman year, and freshman Christian Riedelsheimer, despite never playing together before, were seeded fifth, giving them a bye in the first round.

Also playing as a team for the first time were 2013 All-American sophomore Neil Cordell and freshman Mario Yanez Tapia. Cordell and Yanez Tapia were unseeded, but were still able to win their opening round match against Vrishab Kotian and Moustafa Hamada of Trinity College.

In the second round, the pair was drawn against another team from Trinity, this time taking on the sixth-seeded John Lamont and Miled Zarazua. Once again, the pair had no trouble, taking the encounter in straight sets.

Khan and Riedelsheimer had similar success in the second round, cruising to a straight sets win over Johns Hopkins’ Nathan Li and Stefan Reichenstein. The duo’s run came to an end in the quarterfinals, where they fell to Yale’s Sam Fenwick and Joseph Roberts.

Cordell and Yanez Tapia’s quarterfinal against St. Lawrence University was one of the most intriguing  matches of the tournament, as Riedelsheimer’s brother, Sebastian, is a current member of the St. Lawrence team. Even so, the ‘Jackets showed no mercy on the three seeds, booking their place in the semifinals.

UR’s weekend ultimately came to a close when James and Billy Kacergis of the Navy knocked out Cordell and Yanez Tapia to advance to the finals, where they fell to another team from the Naval Academy.

The tournament was a strong start to the season for the ‘Jackets, who will see action again on Friday, Nov. 1 at the Price-Bullington Invitational in Richmond, Va.

Shapiro is a member of the class of 2016.

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