MEDFORD -- The men’s squash team will cap off a successful 2018-19 season this weekend, competing in the College Squash Association Team Championships Friday through Sunday in New Haven, Conn.
The Jumbos head into the tournament ranked No. 24 in the country and will be playing in the Summers Cup for the first time since the 2010 season. The Summers Cup features the 17th through 24th ranked teams in the country. The Jumbos will face off with No. 17 Williams on Friday at 10 am.
A young and much improved team will look to improve their national ranking this weekend with a win or two. The Jumbos and Ephs are playing in the Summers Cup with No. 18 Middlebury, No. 19 Brown, No. 20 MIT, No. 21 Bates, No. 22 Amherst and No. 23 Bowdoin. Working in the Jumbos favor is the fact that they have faced off with six of those seven teams this year. Back in December the Jumbos played but weren’t able to sneak out a win over Middlebury (8-1), Williams (7-2), MIT (8-1) and Bowdoin (5-4). They took on Amherst and Bates this January and most recently took on Middlebury and Bowdoin in the NESCAC Tournament. So, their opponents will be familiar this weekend.
“Regardless of what happens at Nationals the season has been a huge success because of our ability to earn a spot in the C draw,” senior co-captain Brett Raskopf said. “Our seeding among the top 24 teams in the country serves as a testament to how much the program has turned around in the last four years. Just four years ago we finished the season No. 33 in the country. We are now guaranteed a spot at No. 24.”
The winner of the match between the Jumbos and the Ephs will take on the winner of the match between Bates and MIT. On the other side of the bracket Brown is taking on Amherst and Bowdoin faces off with Middlebury. The loser of the Jumbos and Ephs match will enter consolation play with the chance to advance to the third/fourth place match.
The Jumbos have had a pretty consistent lineup this year. Junior Raghav Kumar has played in the top position with freshmen Konrad Ladow and Marco Rodriguez behind him in the second and third spots, respectively. Senior Alan Litman takes the courts in the fourth spot, with freshmen Will Dewire and Dillon O’Shea in the fifth and sixth. Junior Connor Wind plays in the seventh spot with co-captains Raskopf and Aidan Porges in the eighth and ninth. With an injury to Kumar keeping him out this weekend, the Jumbos will all play up one position this weekend. Sophomore Salik Awan is likely to move into the ninth spot.
“We will especially need wins from the guys at the bottom of the ladder,” Raskopf said. “Our #1 player is out with an injury for the entire tournament, so everybody is playing one spot higher on the ladder. Considering that we are also the lowest seeded team in the bracket, we have to play loose with a ‘nothing to lose’ mentality.”
The Jumbos faced tough competition in the NESCAC Tournament most recently and are hoping that that, along with solid practices the past two weeks will put them in a good position to make a run this weekend.
“We have been pushing each other to work harder in fitness sessions and drills because the biggest tournament of the year is right around the corner,” Raskopf said. “We have also been doing a lot of match play in order to prepare ourselves for the game-day intensity that we will experience every day this weekend.”