The third-ranked Yellowjacket squash team, coming off a 5–4 win against Harvard and 4–5 loss to Trinity last weekend, recently travelled to Canton, New York for the Liberty League Championships.

In the opening match against Bard (8–4), UR won all nine matches handily, not dropping a single game, with three-love sweeps across the board. Later on, during the nightcap against Hobart (5–10), the ‘Jackets remained strong, with seven of the nine wins coming by the same scores. The Statesmen did put up a fight—however, as first-ranked Mario Yanez was pushed to four games by Josh Oakley, and at the seventh’s rung, Hobart’s Divine Wing earned a one-game win over UR’s Aria Fazelimanesh.

On the second day of competition, UR started with similar strength, sweeping Vassar 9–0, again without dropping a single game. St. Lawrence (12–2), the host and defending champion, defeated Bard (also by a score of  9–0), bringing the Yellowjackets and the St. Lawrence Saints head-to-head. Both squads are top-10 teams in the College Squash Association (CSA) rankings, with UR at number three and the Saints ranked sixth.

While it was a hard-fought battle, the ‘Jackets dropped a 5–4 decision to St. Lawrence University in the final match on Sunday. With the win, the host Saints (12–2) captured their third straight Liberty League title after Rochester had won six previous championships from 2007 to 2012.

St. Lawrence took two of the opening three matches in the first wave. In the third slot, SLU’s Ahmed Bayoumy outlasted Neil Cordell in five games. At ladder nine, St. Lawrence’s Ness Billamoria won in a tight four-game match over UR’s Meng Xiaomen for an early 2–0 lead. Yellowjacket Michelangelo Bertocchi then put the UR on the board with a four game win over George Willis, the Saint’s sixth rung.

In the next wave, the ‘Jackets were able to take two of three matches to even the score at 3–3. At rung five, freshman Lawrence Kuhn topped Hussien Elraye and Ryosei Kobayashi added a win at rung two over Moustafa Bayoumy for UR’s third point. Tim Lasusa of St. Lawrence defeated Ben Pitfield in a grueling five games at number eight.

In the last three games, the Saints’ Lockie Munro took a 3–0 win over Aria Fazelimanesh, UR’s seventh rung. St. Lawrence’s Amr Khalifa then clinched the championship decision in the first slot with his 3–0 win over Mario Yanez. In the final match played, UR’s Tomotaka Endo won in five over Lenard Puski to reach the final score of 5–4.

Rochester returns home to the Lyman Squash Center next weekend for home matches at noon against Bates College and the University of Toronto on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Following that, UR will head to the College Squash Association team championships from Feb.26 through 28.

Tagged: Squash

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