Providence, RI – The Virginia men’s squash team traveled to Brown University for their annual foray into New England. After coming out flat in a disappointing 1-8 loss to the Bears, who are ranked #19 in the nation, the Cavaliers bounced straight back to pick up their biggest win of the season in an absolute thriller, 5-4 over #18 Middlebury. Virginia collected a pair of 9-0 wins against two other NESCAC programs, toppling #29 Connecticut College and #24 Bowdoin College.
Virginia was sluggish from the start against the Brown Bears. Jarett Odrich, at the #3 position, played excellent squash from start to finish and picked up a 3-0 win over Thomas Walker. The rest of the squad, however, were picked apart by the host Bears and never managed to make the necessary adjustments. Odrich earned the lone point for the visiting Cavaliers, who were left to absorb the gut punch of a 1-8 defeat.
Head Coach Mark Allen didn’t make excuses for Friday’s loss, he made fire out of it. “Bleed sweat if that’s what it takes,” he told his squad ahead of a must-win match against #18 Middlebury. And the Cavaliers came close to doing so. Odrich kept his momentum rolling and came out on top with a five-set win at #3. Fourth-year and co captain Stewart Staunton helped set the tone as well, as he put the Hoos on the board early with a 3-1 win at the #9 spot. But it was Henry Woodworth at #4 who put on a clinic in the art of endurance. Woodworth and Middlebury’s Will Cembalest went gladiatorial in their second game, which Cembalest ultimately took 23-21 to go up 2-0. That’s when Woodworth went monk, climbing one point at a time to take the final three games 11-9, 11-6, 11-9. Justin Shah and Killian Bubroosky picked up the wins at #6 and #7 respectively to clinch the 5-4 win for the Hoos.
There was no let up from the Virginia squad the remainder of the way, as the men overpowered Connecticut College, dropping just one game en route to a 9-0 victory. The Polar Bears from Bowdoin presented a more formidable opponent but the Cavaliers proved stronger at every position and made it back-to-back 9-0 wins to round out the weekend.
Virginia returns to action on Tuesday with a trip to George Washington University for the second half of a a home and away battle for the newly minted Washington-Jefferson cup. The men and women will host their first-annual Virginia Squash Home Round Robin with play beginning on Friday, February 3 and concluding on Sunday, February 5. The Men will close out the season with a trip to the CSA National Team Championships in Boston the weekend of February 17-19.