February 21, 2006

Squash Falls To Wesleyan And Haverford; Defeats Washington

Feb. 21, 2006

PRINCETON, N.J. - The MIT squash team (4-11) participated in the Intercollegiate National Team Championships this past weekend at Princeton University. The Engineers, ranked 31st heading into the tournament, also came out as the 31st ranked team in the nation. MIT played three matches, losing to Wesleyan University and Haverford College and winning against the University of Washington. Junior Duncan Ma won all of his matches at the number two spot. He was the only three match winner.

In the first round, MIT played the 26th ranked team from Wesleyan University. Despite winning performances from MIT's top three players, Wesleyan won 6-3.

The Engineers faced 28th ranked Haverford College in the consolation match. MIT's top four athletes won, but the team still lost the match 5-4.

"Haverford was deeper," said head coach Jim Taylor.

MIT's final match, one which would determine the 31st and 32nd ranked teams, was against the University of Washington. MIT won two of the top four games very easily and won the bottom three positions for a 5-4 MIT win.

"It was satisfying to maintain our ranking," said Taylor. "It was an unusual match where we won two of the top four very easily with Junior Ma losing only two points in three games, while Freshman Justin Stilwell won all three of his games bye 9-2 scores. We dominated these two matches. The other three matches that we won were a bit more of a struggle, but the bottom of our ladder came through this time."

At number seven, freshman Saad Zaheer won in five games. Sophomore Jonathan Fu won at number eight, 3-0. Sophomore Thatcher Clay won his first varsity match at number 9 by scores of 9-3, 9-0, 9-3.

"This was Thatcher's first year playing the sport. It was a satisfying way to end the season." said Taylor.

Captain Nadeem Mazen and Chris Buonrostoro, playing in their last varsity matches, both went down in five long, hard fought games, as did Junior Jehan DeFonseka. Junior Ashwin Deshpande lost in four games.

"When Ashwin is on, he is very tough, but he is up and down," said Taylor. "He won against Haverford playing a much stronger opponent than the person he lost to from the University of Washington. You never know which Ashwin is going to show up.

In my forty plus years of coaching at MIT, this is the most cohesive group that I've worked with. They know how to make each other laugh. No team has every rooted harder for each other. I've enjoyed this year," said Taylor.

Duncan Ma will be playing in the National Individual Tournament at Amherst College on March 3. The competition will begin at 8:00 a.m.