In the first match in the Middlebury Squash Team’s new facility, the 17th-ranked Panthers played host to the fifth-ranked Rochester Yellowjackets. Unfortunately, the contingent from Upstate N.Y. put a damper on the facility’s inaugural match, soundly defeating the shorthanded lineup Middlebury sent out, 9-0.
Missing a number of upperclassmen, Middlebury was able to get a very talented first-year class some exposure to high-level collegiate play. One such matchup was between Andrew Cadienhead ’17, who drew Rochester’s All-American sophomore Neil Cordell at the second slot. While Cadienhead failed to take a game from Cordell, he demonstrated an impressive array of creative shots in addition to excellent court coverage.
Similarly, Ben Krant ’17 played a solid match at the seventh position; while losing all three games he played against Rochester’s Aria Fazil, Krant, a tall player who used his length to great advantage, connecting with balls seemingly out of reach. While the end result left much to be desired, the first-years put on a promising showing.
The lone Panther to win a set on Friday was Henry Pearson ’17, playing out of the number nine slot.
Andrew Jung ’16 played Rochester’s top man, but fell in straight sets.
Saturday, however, boded better for the Panthers, as the men’s side split a pair of matches in action at Williams’ facility. The first match of the day saw Middlebury sweep Stanford 9-0. Middlebury’s Parker Hurst ’14 won his first match of the current campaign 11-5, 11-3 and 11-5 over Stanford’s Parker Odrich in the top slot. Also of note was Krant, continuing his solid play over the weekend, allowing his opponent onlythree points over the course of three games.
Will Moore ’14 and Cadienhead rounded out the top three for Middlebury, also sweeping their opponents.
In truly dominant fashion, the Panthers did not drop one single game over the course of nine matches.
Later that day, however, the Panthers faced another steep challenge in playing University of Western Ontario, ranked ninth nationally. Middlebury was not as successful against its counterparts from London, Ontario, with the Panthers dropping seven of nine matches.
The squad’s two victories came from sixth man Wyatt French ’17 (11-9, 11-8, 11-5) and Krant (5-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7), playing in the nine slot.
However, despite the final score, against such a high quality opponent, the Panthers played admirably. All matches were close, with several that could have gone either way. Against a team such as the University of Western Ontario, the outcome, while far from preferred, was encouraging, nonetheless.
While the mark of 1-2 over the weekend may not be superficially appealing, Robert Galluccio ’15 believes the team had a productive weekend, despite the lopsided score due to the caliber of the opposition.
“Rochester and University of Western Ontario are some of the best squads in the country, and for us to go out there and compete, regardless of the outcome, can only make us better,” Galluccio said, while adding that he would have liked to see a more favorable outcome.
With competitive matches against teams such as Williams and St. Lawrence on the horizon, the men’s squash team looks to use this weekend as a building block for the rest of the season.
The women’s team, meanwhile, opens its season Saturday, Nov. 23 at Hamilton in a matchup of the 12th- and 20th-ranked teams in the country, respectively.