Tech Falls to Hobart in Opening Round of CSA Team Nationals

Freshman Nikhil Punwaney
Freshman Nikhil Punwaney

BELMONT, Mass. - Originally scheduled to play Connecticut College at home but changed due to the weather, #7 seed MIT squash faced #2 seed Hobart College at Belmont Hill School on Friday evening for the first round of the College Squash Association (CSA) Team Nationals. Freshman Nikhil Punwaney (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) picked up the Engineers' lone victory as Tech fell to the Statesmen, 8-1.

Playing at No. 2, Punwaney defeated Beau Orchard in five games. He lost the first and third games, 4-11, 2-11, but was able to come from behind and win the other three, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9. In the top spot, classmate Tyler Finkelstein (Greenwich, Conn.) fell in his first two games to William Abrams, 4-11, 8-11, before coming from behind to win the next two, 11-2, 11-8. He was not able to break the tie and dropped the final game, 11-13.

Also playing to five games was freshman Dominic Hansford (Darien, Conn.), who was defeated by Felipe Pantle at No. 3. Pantle won the first two games, 11-9, 13-11 and Hansford tied the score when he won the next two games, 11-8, 11-6, before the MIT freshman dropped the final game, 11-5. Junior David Bian (Austin, Texas) won his second game against Danny Cabrera, 11-9, but lost the other three at No. 5, 10-12, 7-11, 5-11. Senior Abhi Mitra (Medford, Mass.) had three close games at No. 7, falling to Michael Woods 9-11, 4-11, 7-11.

Next up for the Cardinal and Gray will be a match against Johns Hopkins University at home at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. The Blue Jays lost to Stanford University, 7-2, on Friday.