Men’s Squash Goes 1-2, Places Sixth at Conference Tourney
Issue   |   Tue, 02/07/2017 - 22:15

The Amherst men’s squash team hosted one of the most competitive conference championship tournament in the country this weekend Feb. 3-5. With six out of the 11 total teams ranked in the top 25, No. 24 purple and white had their work cut out for them.

The sixth-seeded Amherst team took the first match of the tournament handily, sweeping eleventh-seeded Connecticut College. The purple and white posted an impressive five sweeps on courts two, three, five, seven and eight. Standout sophomore Harith Khawaja took his set in comeback fashion after surrendering the first two sets to his opponent. Khawaja went on to win the final three sets by the skin of his teeth, pulling out 11-9 wins to secure the sweep for his team.

Beyond an exciting win by the host team, the first day of competition at the Davenport Squash Courts saw eighth-seeded Wesleyan defeat nine-seed Tufts, and No. 7 Bowdoin take down the tenth-seeded Continentals of Hamilton. Both match-ups were won in 7-2 victories.

As Friday competition gave-way to Saturday, a seemingly predictable series of events transpired as the top four seeds won their matches to advance to the semifinals later that day. Three of those matches were sweeps, with Middlebury defeating Colby, top-ranked Trinity handling Wesleyan with ease and Bates taking down Bowdoin. The perennial rivals Amherst and Williams were the only duo that gave the crowd suspenseful squash in the quarterfinal round, with the Ephs ultimately capturing the win from under the purple and white.

Although courts eight and nine saw five-set battles between the opponents, first-years Mitch Ford and Mateen Mills ultimately came up short for the purple and white. Amherst’s only two victories against Williams came from the third and seventh courts, as David Merkel ’19 and Chris Zimmerman ’20 defeated their opponents in three and four sets, respectively. Brothers Carl and John Shuck of Williams took down purple and white senior captains Cameron Bahdori and Darian Ehsani on courts four and five, while the Ephs swept Amherst on courts one, two, and six.

The Ephs would go on to be edged by Bates in the semifinal round later that day. The first and second seeded Trinity and Bates faced off in the title match, but Trinity continued to prove their dominance as the No. 2 team in North America, taking down the Bobcats 8-1. The purple and white competed in two matchups in the consolation round of the tournament, defeating Bowdoin 6-3 and then losing the next day to the Mules of Colby.

Amherst still has plenty of squash to play, however, as they host No. 7 St. Lawrence and No. 21 MIT at home this weekend and try to improve their national ranking. The purple and white will face St. Lawrence at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10 and MIT the next afternoon at 1 p.m.