Men’s Squash | Tufts opens winter season with mixed results

The men’s squash team began its season with matches against Boston University, Stanford and Williams this past weekend. Tufts also played its home opener against Northeastern on Tuesday night, in which they lost 6-3.

On Sunday the Jumbos had a difficult doubleheader at Williams, playing the No. 11 Ephs as well as the No. 25 Stanford Cardinals.

Against Stanford, sophomore Aditya Advani in the top spot secured what would be the only win for the Jumbos against Stanford, beating Parker Odrich 11-6, 11-5, 11-5.

Freshman Josh Lee played No. 2 in a see-saw match against Stanford’s William MacFarlane. After dropping a close first set 11-9, Lee lost the second 11-1. In the third set, the match got close again, but Lee was defeated, 12-10.

The Jumbos continued to fight hard to keep matches close against the talented Cardinals, but were unable to secure another victory.

Junior captain Elliot Kardon lost 11-8, 11-7, 11-7, and both sophomore Brandon Weiss and senior Jeremy Aronson lost in four sets. Weiss lost at No. 4 11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7, and at No. 5, Aronson dropped a close final set to lose 11-8, 12-14, 11-7, 11-6.

“We had some close matches against Stanford, and it was exciting, but they’ve really improved this year and were better than I think what we expected,” Advani said.

After competing against Stanford, the Jumbos geared up to play 11th-ranked Williams. In their toughest match of the weekend, the Jumbos found it difficult to find their stride against the Ephs.

Advani lost his first match of the weekend against Kevin Chen. After two quick sets, Advani found his range and put up a contest in the third set. It was not enough, though, as Chen eventually capped off an 11-4, 11-6, 13-11 victory.

In the seventh singles matchup, junior Jamieson Breig also lost the first two sets, while putting up a stronger fight in the third. Breig was a few points away from taking the match to a fourth set, but Breig’s opponent Varun Sharma sealed an 11-3, 11-1, 13-11 win.

“Williams is a top team in the country,” Advani said. “It was a great opportunity to play them. Their number-one is very good, and he was challenging to play against, but it’s always good to get to be able to compete against top-level teams.”

On Saturday, the Jumbos traveled to BU to compete against the Terriers. Tufts, ranked 31st, was able to pull out a hard-fought win against 36th-ranked BU. Tufts swept the first five matches, but BU battled to take four of the last five.

Advani continued his excellent weekend when he scored the most impressive win of the day at the No. 1 spot. After a quick first set that saw Advani win 11-2, Jonathan Chambers of BU put up a stronger fight in the second and third games. It was to no avail though, as Advani took the match, 11-2, 11-5, 11-6, only losing 13 total points.

Lee, playing No. 2 again, had a tougher first game. After a few long points, Lee ended up taking the first game 11-8. In the second and third games, Lee found his rhythm to cruise to an 11-8, 11-2, 11-3 victory.

Kardon, Weiss and Aronson — No. 3, 4 and 5, respectively — won their matches in straight games. Kardon faced the strongest opposition within the first five players, but still won his match against Ali Vohra 11-7, 11-6, 11-9.

Tufts lost the next three matches in a row, but junior Philip Weiner won the Jumbos one last match at No. 9, 11-5, 11-6, 11-3.

The Jumbos also played their home opener at the Belmont Hill School against the Northeastern Huskies on Tuesday. Despite winning the top three positions, Tufts could not hold on for an overall victory, as Northeastern took the remaining six scored matches.

Advani, Lee and Kardon won the first three matches to start things off on the right foot, but Tufts unwound, and the Huskies took all of the remaining matches. Weiss evened things up in his No. 4 match after dropping the first game 4-11 and then winning his second 11-8, but the results did not hold, as Northeastern’s Stanislav Berenshtein took the next two sets 11-7, 11-8.

Four of the next five Tufts players would go on to lose in straight games. Northeastern capped off the 6-3 victory with a five-game win in the No. 9 match, as Weiner won his first two games and then dropped three straight.

As a team, the Jumbos look to improve their performances throughout the season in hopes of breaking into the top 30.

Freshman Danny Fischer, who has opened his collegiate career at the No. 6 spot for the Jumbos, spoke about the team’s aims moving forward.

“As for team goals, we hope to break into top 30 in the country. I think currently we are [No.] 31, and 30 is a reasonable and achievable goal,” he said.

In order to accomplish these goals, Advani thinks that experience will be a key component.

“There are some matches coming up where my experience and the experience of some of our upperclassmen will be crucial,” Advani said.

After its game last night against MIT, the results of which were not known at press time, the team will look to continue to gain experience and move closer to .500 when it takes on Bowdoin, Brown and Bryant this upcoming weekend.