Men's Squash: Defending champions pass 1st top 5 challenge
The men’s squash team continued a strong start to its 2012-2013 season with an exciting 7-2 victory against No. 5 Rochester at Jadwin Gymnasium on Saturday.
The top-ranked Tigers found themselves in a tight situation after Rochester earned victories in the third and fourth matches. The visitors got their first point in the No. 6 match between senior Steve Harrington and Karm Kumar, then tied it 2-2 after William Mohr defeated freshman Michael LeBlanc in three games.
But sophomore No. 2 Samuel Kang and freshman No. 5 Taylor Tutrone won the next two matches, with Kang overcoming a 2-0 deficit. Sophomore David Hoffman earned the Tigers’ crucial fifth victory at the No. 7 spot with a three-game win.
The new freshmen have been finding their footing and making contributions to the team in these first matches.
“[The freshmen] are all exceptionally hard workers, always giving it their best effort,” sophomore No. 3 Tyler Osborne said. “Even though it’s hard to replace the seniors we lost last year, I think they have done a pretty good job.”
When they faced Rochester last year, the Tigers came out with a 6-3 victory, and they were expecting a fight when facing the nation’s fifth-ranked team this weekend.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match, so we weren’t surprised that it was close in the beginning,” senior captain Todd Harrity said.
The expectation of a tough match allowed the team to remained focused when Rochester began to even out the score.
“I think each player on our team does a good job of just staying focused on his own match in these situations,” Harrity added. “When it gets close, as a player, it’s good to try to shelter yourself from all of the tension and excitement in the atmosphere and just focus on the job you need to do.”
The victory this weekend allowed Princeton to further establish itself as a force to be reckoned with, on the heels of a national championship season in 2011-12.
“I guess if anything it should give us confidence going into the break as the top team in the nation,” Osborne said. “I’m sure everyone will be pumped when we return in January to compete well in some more of our big matches.”
The sort of confidence that comes from this sort of victory will help the team work towards its goals with even more challenging matches coming up when they return to competition in January.
“We will need to be feeling confident during the second half of the season when we play the other Ivy League teams and Trinity,” Harrity said. “So far we’ve been playing well. But I think the biggest challenges are still to come.”
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