Jeffs Look to Finish Strong at CSA Championships
Contact: Matthew Hart
AMHERST, Mass. – There will be plenty of familiar faces on the Wesleyan University courts this weekend as the Amherst College men’s squash team returns to Summers Cup (C Division) play at the College Squash Association (CSA) Team National Championships. Ranked 20th entering the competition, the déjà vu will begin when Lord Jeffs open competition Friday at 12 p.m. with a rematch of their final NESCAC contest against No. 21 Bowdoin College.
Although Yale will serve as hosts for the weekend, most if not all of Amherst’s matches will be played at Wesleyan. The location is only fitting, as six of the eight competitors for this year’s Summers Cup hail from the NESCAC, with No. 17 Middlebury, No. 22 Wesleyan, No. 23 Hamilton and No. 24 Connecticut College joining Amherst and Bowdoin. Rounding out the field are two teams which the Jeffs hosted in early-season play, No. 18 George Washington and No. 19 Drexel.
Head coach Peter Robson’s squad will look to put last year behind it this weekend as Amherst entered the 2012 national tournament seeded 18th but left with a 21st-place showing. If the NESCAC Championships – the team’s last competition – were any indicator, the Jeffs will have a strong shot at a higher finish in 2013 as wins over then higher-ranked Wesleyan and Bowdoin vaulted seventh-seeded Amherst to a fifth-place performance at the conference tournament.
With a 5-6 record against the Summers Cup field, the Jeffs (10-12 overall) have played exactly half of their matches against this weekend’s potential opponents. Amherst fell to Drexel and GWU, 6-3 and 7-2, respectively, to open the season, before returning in January to split a doubleheader with Conn. College and Middlebury, topping the Camels, 5-4, before a 7-2 setback to the Panthers. Amherst’s first matchup with Bowdoin on Jan. 16 was a far cry from the teams’ recent battle, as the Polar Bears took the tilt in Brunswick, 8-1.
Returning home for the Pioneer Valley Invitational, the Jeffs posted an impressive 9-0 sweep of Hamilton but fell to Wesleyan, 5-4, in the rivals’ first of three meetings. The Cardinals triumphed again at the Little Three Championship the following weekend, this time 6-3, but it was Amherst who had the last laugh with a 5-4 win at the NESCAC tourney on Feb. 2. At the same competition, the Jeffs also knocked off Conn. College, 7-2, before their impressive 6-3 triumph over Bowdoin.
Leading the Jeffs’ lineup will be recent All-NESCAC first team honoree Noah Browne ’16. Taking a 13-7 individual record into the national tournament, Browne has starred atop the Amherst scorecard as a first-year and been especially deadly of late, winning five of his last six. The Bermuda native’s only setbacks to potential weekend opponents were a tight 3-1 loss to GWU’s Islam El-Fiky in his second collegiate match and a 3-0 defeat to Bowdoin’s Andrew Hilbodt in January, a result which the rookie put behind him in time to turn the tables with a 3-0 triumph over the Polar Bear No. 1 three weeks ago.
Having won two of his last four, Charles Loesch-Quintin ’13 will look to write a strong conclusion to his collegiate career while playing at No. 2 this weekend. Scott DeSantis ’15 will be penciled into the third position after a reliable sophomore season has seen the 2011-12 All-NESCAC pick play everywhere from first through fourth and post an 11-10 overall mark. Dave Kerr ’14 will hold the No. 4 slot and look to improve on his 4-3 record since Jan. 20
In the middle of Robson’s lineup, Alex Southmayd ’15 will play at No. 5, having won three of his last four and holding a 5-2 record in fifth-position matches on the year (10-11 overall). Meanwhile, Max Kardon ’15 has been steady all season and will hold the sixth spot at nationals. Playing in each of Amherst’s 22 matches, the sophomore has appeared at Nos. 3-6 and posted a 13-9 individual record.
In the bottom third of the order, Stephen Cacouris ’16 will look to cap a solid rookie season at the No. 7 spot, carrying a 4-3 mark since Jan. 25. Jake Albert ’15 has been a mainstay in the lineup and will play at No. 8 after a season in which he has competed in every Amherst match and posted an 11-11 individual record at Nos. 5-8. Rounding out the lineup at No. 9 will be Rodrigo Quan Miranda '14 while Kelvin Chen ’16 will provide insurance at No. 10.
The winner of the Amherst-Bowdoin match will meet the Middlebury-Conn. College victor in the Summers Cup semifinals on the Wesleyan courts Saturday at 2 p.m., while the losers will play an 11 a.m. consolation semifinal, also at Wesleyan. The cup final match will be played on the Yale courts Sunday at 3 p.m. while consolation play will remain at Wesleyan.
Sunday, Feb. 26