Squash Teams Set for NESCAC Championship
Contact: Matthew Hart
AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College men’s squash team will face a rematch of one of its tightest matches of the season when the Lord Jeffs open play at the NESCAC Championships Friday at Trinity’s George A Kellner Squash Center. Seeded seventh, Amherst (7-11) will battle 10th-seeded Connecticut College (8-12) in Friday’s first round contest at 5 p.m. with the winner advancing to face No. 2 Williams in the quarterfinals Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The Amherst women, meanwhile, will not begin play until Saturday morning, having earned a first-round bye as the No. 5 seed. The Jeffs (10-6) will square off with No. 4 Bates (4-10) in a 9 a.m. quarterfinal with the winner moving on to meet top-seeded Trinity in the semifinals at 3 p.m.
The Jeffs and Camels met in Amherst on Jan. 13 with the hosts edging out a tight 5-4 win in a contest which saw five matches go past three games. Noah Browne ’16 triumphed atop the lineup for the Jeffs while sophomores Scott DeSantis (pictured right), Alex Southmayd and Max Kardon took places three through five, respectively, and Jake Albert ’15 capped the victory with a win at No. 7.
After a pair of wins at the Little Three Championships last weekend, Browne will look to continue his strong play at No. 1, taking an 8-6 season record into the tournament. Having won three of his last four contests, DeSantis will also look to stay hot near the top of the Jeff order. In the middle of the lineup, Steve Cacouris ’16 will look to continue a strong end to his rookie season, having won two of his last three and contests and three of five.
Amherst will need a big weekend to match the team’s fifth-place showing at last year’s conference championship. Seeded sixth entering that competition, the Jeffs beat No. 11 Tufts, 8-1, in the first round before falling to third-seeded Middlebury, 8-1, in quarterfinal play. Moving into the consolation bracket, Amherst beat No. 10 Conn. College and ninth-seeded Wesleyan in its final two matches to take fifth.
Host Trinity will once again be overwhelming favorites for the conference title as the Bantams enter the weekend ranked second nationally. Tenth-ranked Williams will seek a return to the NESCAC title match while the rest of the conference enters the weekend ranked between 15th and 25th nationally.
Ranked 16th nationally, fifth-seeded Amherst opens play against fourth-seeded and 15th-ranked Bates in a rematch of the teams’ Jan. 15 meeting in Lewiston. The Jeffs came up on the wrong end of a 6-3 decision in that contest, with six of nine matchups going past three games. Arielle Lehman ’15 won at No. 3 for Amherst while first-years Ericka Robertson and Taryn Clary took the fifth and ninth slots, respectively.
Chandler Lusardi ’13 takes a 10-6 season record at the No. 1 spot into the weekend for Amherst, while fellow senior Anne Piper (pictured right) will look to continue her strong recent play at No. 2, having won three of her last five. Further down the lineup, Robertson has posted an 11-5 mark, splitting time between the fourth and fifth slots, while Clary has dominated at the bottom of the order, winning her first 11 collegiate matches and carrying a 13-3 mark into the weekend.
After a strong regular season, Amherst sits poised to improve on last year’s seventh-place finish at the conference championship. The Jeffs entered the 2012 tournament seeded sixth, sweeping Tufts in the first round before falling to Williams in quarterfinal play. The Jeffs suffered an upset loss to seventh-seeded Bowdoin in the first consolation round, however, before salvaging the weekend with a win over Wesleyan in the seventh-place match.
As on the men’s side, Trinity will be favorites for the women’s title, entering the championship with a No. 4 national ranking. Competition figures to be tight underneath the Bantams, however, with Williams and Middlebury ranked 10th and 11th, respectively, ahead of the Bobcats and Jeffs. Bowdoin, Wesleyan and Hamilton are close behind in the national table, holding the 17-19 spots, respectively.