Men's Squash Stands at 4-5
Issue   |   Tue, 01/24/2017 - 23:19

After playing only once in December, the Amherst men’s squash team’s schedule ramped up over interterm, with the purple and white taking on eight opponents in a span of less than two weeks. Having experienced both the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, Amherst now owns a disappointing record of 4-5 overall after going only 3-5 over their busy holiday period.

In the team’s first match since its 9-0 rout of Brandeis in the first week of December, the purple and white fell victim to a 9-0 sweep by NESCAC rival Middlebury on Jan. 11.

With seven of nine matches lasting just three sets, only senior captains Michael Groot and Darian Ehsani managed to push their Panther opponents further than the minimum three sets. Groot ended up losing in four sets, while Ehsani lost in a five-set heartbreaker.

However, the next two matches saw Amherst return to their dominating ways, posting wins of 9-0 and 8-1 over Northeastern and Stanford respectively.

Against Northeastern, not a single member of the purple and white lost a set, with only two Huskies even managing to attain four points in any set.

Last Friday’s opening match of the Pioneer Valley Invitational against Stanford proved a stiffer test for Amherst, with three matches requiring a fourth set. Yet, the only purple and white competitor to fall victim to the Cardinal was Chris Zimmerman ’20, who put up an admirable effort in a 5-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9 defeat.

Amherst failed to carry the momentum from the Stanford win over into afternoon action, though, losing 7-2 to New England rival Brown. Again, the action on the courts was far closer than the overall score would suggest, with at least six of the nine matches coming down to a few points here and there. However, the Bears managed to find a way to pull out wins on every court except for the third and fourth courts, where David Merkel ’19 and Cameron Bahadori ’18 managed to notch wins.

The closest the purple and white came to stealing another match was on court two where sophomore Harith Khawaja lost in a tightly contested five-set affair by a margin of 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-5.

The purple and white bounced back from the tight loss and achieved their last victory of the break early last Saturday morning, trouncing Hamilton 8-1 and picking up their first conference win of the season in the process. Although Hamilton did put up a fight across the board, the purple and white’s resilience prevailed and only Groot, playing on the first court, tallied a loss.

Amherst’s exhilaration from the win would prove short-lived, though, as the team was completely outclassed on Saturday afternoon against 13th ranked Franklin and Marshall, losing by a score of 9-0 and managing to not take even a single set. The purple and white’s woes continued into Sunday, as the team lost to a pair of NESCAC challengers, Bates and Colby, by scores of 8-1 and 5-4 respectively.

Against Bates, Ehsani continued his strong play this season, notching the lone Amherst victory on court five. The Colby match, the purple and white’s closest of the year so far, came down to the wire, with the Bobcats’ Will McBrian managing to eke out a five set victory on court one over Groot to clinch the upset win.

Amherst looks to end this recent three-game skid and return to winning ways when the team hosts this year’s edition of the Little Three Championships on Saturday, Jan. 28, taking on Wesleyan at 10 a.m. and then Williams at 4 p.m.