Men’s Squash Returns Key Players, Looks to Build on Recent Successes
Issue   |   Tue, 10/24/2017 - 22:59

Despite the difficulties the team faced last postseason, Amherst men’s squash looks to put together another strong season. With Head Coach Peter Robson entering his 31st season at the helm of Amherst squash, the team looks to build upon last season’s individual successes.

Junior Harith Khawaja earned All-NESCAC honors, finishing the season with a combined record of 6-13 in regular season play on courts one and two.

Khawaja was most impressive in his postseason wins over Conn. College and MIT, picking up a comeback win against the Camels and sweeping his Engineer opponent.

Khawaja will certainly be a force to be reckoned with on the first court as he continues to develop.

However, he may miss some matches at the beginning of the season, as he presently is studying abroad. This will shine the spotlight on players looking to face the challenge of court one.

Deeper down the ladder, David Merkel ’19 finished the season with a court three record of 10-8, also recording a victory on court two. The team will count on him to continue his winning ways in the coming season.

Merkel was also the only team member to secure a winning record in the final ten matches of last season, with six wins and four losses.

Although the ladder for the coming season remains uncertain, Amherst returned seven out of nine players who played consistently in a laddered position, losing only Darian Ehsani and Michael Groot to graduation. Ehsani played at the fifth spot, while Groot played mostly in the second position.

With regular season wins against tough competition including Hamilton, Wesleyan and Stanford, the team showed its promise and talent.

However, the team struggled in postseason play, only managing to best Bowdoin in the consolation bracket of the NESCAC tournament.

Close losses to Colby, at both the CSA Championships and NESCAC Tournament dashed the Mammoths’ postseason hopes.

Key to any chance of success for Amherst will be the play of a talented group of five first-years, including Reginald Brewster.

“So far, the team has been fun, [with] a lot of camaraderie,” Brewster said. “Preseason thus far has consisted of lifts, captains’ practices, and we recently began a challenge match tournament to establish the season’s preliminary ladder.”

The team returns only one senior, Cameron Bahadori ’18, so these young Mammoths certainly will have an opportunity to develop their talent with plenty of competitive experiencein the coming season.

The Mammoths will open their season early this year, beginning competitive play on Nov. 17. Amherst will host Tufts, who did not qualify for NESCAC postseason play last year.