Squash splits weekend matches against Williams

Media Credit: Aaron Schwartz | Staff Photographer

Sophomore Mohammad Alterki prepares to hit the ball during a match against Williams College.

Men’s and women’s squash split their matches against Williams at home Sunday.

No. 12 men’s squash dominated No. 19 Williams, earning a 9–0 sweep, while No. 13 women’s squash fell to the Ephs’ women’s squad – ranked No. 15 in the nation – 6–3.

The Colonials’ win on the men’s side (7–7) marked their second in a row and maintained their perfect 3–0 record on their home floor.

The women’s team (2–7) extended its losing streak to two games with the loss as the bottom rungs of its ladder continue to struggle.

“It was a very, very strong 9–0 showing today for the men and it can’t do anything but help their confidence,” head coach Wendy Lawrence said. “It was a pretty helter-skelter performance on the women’s team. It was a disappointing 6–3 loss.”

The top four players on the men’s ladder won by an average of four points.

Sophomore Salim Khan said the day’s win combined with GW’s upset victory against then-No. 8 Navy last week has rebounded the Colonials’ confidence after back-to-back losses on the road without senior Moudy Abdel-Maksoud and junior Jamie Oakley, who are both still out of the rotation. Khan defeated his opponent in three games at the No. 2 spot.

“This weekend helps us with confidence and also helps us carry into the end of the season,” Khan said. “Everybody has to take on new roles and I think people are really stepping up.”

Younger players in the bottom half of the men’s ladder have competed more consistently since the beginning of the season – when Lawrence said she was “concerned” about their level of play.

Freshman Idan Hare won a close match at No. 9 against Williams senior Oscar Merino in three consecutive games. Freshman Abbas Saeed started his No. 7 match strong against senior Ben Eisenberg, winning the first game before dropping the next two 7–11. He fought back to win the final two games 11–7 and take the win.

On the women’s side, the bottom portion of the ladders continued to struggle. The Ephs edged out No. 6, No. 7, No. 8 and No. 9 on the ladder by an average of 4.67 points. Lawrence credited their challenges to their youth, saying the veteran Williams players were too much for some members of her team to handle.

Senior Brooke Feldman said that her and her teammates have been working on their fitness, a facet that continues to be a weak spot for the Colonials.

“We’re staying confident and we’re staying strong, but our fitness is something that’s still lacking,” Feldman said.

Three Colonials racked up wins against Williams. Sophomore Zoe Foo Yuk Han and junior Engy Elmandouh swept their matches at No. 1 and No. 2 on the ladder, respectively. Sophomore Vedika Arunachalam dropped the second game of her match against junior Melissa Swann 8–11, but rallied to win the remaining two and pick up the victory at No. 5 on the ladder.

Both squash teams are back in action Wednesday as the Colonials take on Virginia on the road. Play is set to begin at 5:30 p.m.

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