After a successful season opener against Boston University in mid-November, the Tufts men’s squash team has struggled to find its stride. Prior to Thanksgiving break, the Jumbos played MIT before taking on Bowdoin, Brown and Bryant a few days later on Nov. 23. The Jumbos kept the match close against MIT and Bryant but fell decisively against the rest of the field.
Against MIT the men’s squash team had wins at No. 1, No. 3 and No. 9.
Sophomore Aditya Advani defeated the Engineers’ freshman Nikhil Punwaney in the top spot. After a close first set Advani won the second by a larger margin. In the third set, Punwaney regrouped to take the win, 8-11. However, it was too late, as Advani took the match, 13-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8.
In the five matches so far this season, Advani has played No. 1 for all of them and come away the victor four times. His only loss came to Kevin Chen of Williams.
Junior co-captain Elliot Kardon won at the No. 3 position. His match was far more decisive as he took down freshman Thomas Cowan 11-4, 11-6, 11-5. Junior Phil Weiner scraped out a tough five-set match against sophomore Viveka Mishra. After going the distance in the first set, Weiner steamrolled through the second, before losing the two following sets. In the fifth set, Weiner sealed the match with an 11-6 final set to win, 16-14, 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-6.
In the end the Jumbos fell 6-3 to the Engineers, but prepared for their triple-header on Saturday where they were set to play Bowdoin at 12 p.m., Brown at 5:00 p.m. and Bryant at 7 p.m.
The Jumbos played against the Polar Bears at MIT and lost 9-0. Advani played No. 1 and was able to take a game away from Stephan Danyluk in an 11-7, 11-6, 3-11, 11-9 loss. At No. 3 Brandon Weiss was also able to take a game away from his opponent before falling, 11-6, 9-11, 11-2, 11-1.
Tufts had to forfeit its respective No. 9 matches against Bowdoin and Brown.
Soon after its match against Bowdoin, the men’s squash team traveled to Rhode Island to compete with Brown and Bryant.
Up against Brown, the Jumbos once again lost all of their matches. Advani gave the Bears the most trouble, winning 21 points in a three-game defeat to Blake Reinson. Kardon was moved up to No. 2, but lost in three games to Jack Blasberg.
After two losses, the Jumbos geared up to play against Bryant. Tufts was able to win three matches this time, but it wasn’t enough, as they lost 6-3.
Advani won his match against the Bulldogs’ No. 1 Harry Waterton. After decisively winning the first set, Waterton picked up a few more points in the second set. It was to no avail though, as Advani prevailed, 11-2, 12-10, 11-6.
Kardon once again played No. 2 and while he lost in three sets, his match was extremely close. After dropping the first set 11-3, Kardon picked up his game in the second set before dropping the match, 11-3, 13-11, 11-5.
Weiss played No. 3 and won a marathon match. After losing a close first set, Weiss picked up the next two by 11-7 in each set. However, he dropped the fourth set 7-11. In the deciding set, Weiss was able to outlast his opponent for the win, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 13-11.
At No. 8, Weiner also contested a long match. After only being able to pick up six points in the first two sets, Weiner found his stride to win the next three and the match, 2-11, 4-11, 16-14, 11-4, 12-10.
The team attributes some of the mishaps to the shifting of roster positions since several of the team’s players are away this fall. In turn, Kardon sees the fall as preparation for the matches to come in January and February.
“In the fall there are a lot of matches, but what we work toward is the tournament in the spring. Since our No. 2 and No. 4 players are away this semester, we are all playing higher spots, which means that when they are back in the spring, we will all be bumped down,” Kardon said. “This fall is all about learning experience for the spring.”
After match play, the Jumbos fell to a 1-7 record. Their last three matches before the holiday recess are against Bates on Saturday and Bard and Middlebury on Sunday.