The No. 24 men’s squash team competed in the College Squash Association (CSA) National Collegiate Championship over the weekend, earning eighth place. The tournament was divided into seven divisions, lettered A–G, and the Jumbos placed last in the Summers Cup, the C division bracket of the tournament.
In the first-round match on Friday, bottom-seeded Tufts was outfought by top-seeded Williams 8–1.
Sophomore Dillon O’Shea was the only player to secure a win against the Ephs. O’Shea and senior co-captain Claude Smith of Williams had an intense five-game battle, in which O’Shea won the first game 12–10. After losing the first game, Smith fought back and won the second game 11–3. O’Shea and Smith split the third and fourth games to force a fifth. The fifth and last game was highly-intense, with O’Shea emerging victorious, 11–7.
“Everyone was really disappointed with the loss,” first-year Vivaan Jaikishan said about the first-round loss. “We didn’t play as well as we wanted, but we wanted to learn from our mistakes and move on to the next day. Although the team had been training hard, we had an off day, and they were better than us on Friday.”
First-year Kunal Valia, who lost his match in the first position, was also disappointed in the outcome.
“That was a tough loss and it wasn’t our best performance,” Valia said. “It gets a little intimidating to be playing a number one seed team being an eighth seed team, but we changed our mindset for the upcoming matches and believed that we were as good as any of the other teams in the draw and that we could beat them.”
The Jumbos went on to lose Saturday’s match against the Colby Mules in the consolation round in a close 5–4 encounter.
“There were five matches that went to five sets,”Jaikishan said, who lost playing in the fifth position. “We went 3–0 against Colby in the first string of matches, but they bounced back pretty well and managed to get the win.”
Sophomore Marco Rodriguez engaged in a close match against Colby senior Jason Brodo, edging him by 11–9 in the fifth and final game. O’Shea also managed to win his match against Colby senior Charlie Beauregard.
On Sunday, Tufts competed against Amherst in the final consolation round for seventh place in the C draw, but Amherst emerged triumphant.
Playing in the seventh position, O’Shea won his final match against Amherst junior Reginald Brewster in straight sets, winning 12–10, 11–6, 11–6. O’shea thus ended his season on a three-match winning streak, defeating players from Williams, Colby and Amherst.
“It was really disappointing to lose such a close match,” Valia, who lost 3–1 in the first position, said. “It could have gone any way, but we definitely showed these teams that we’re here to fight and we’re ready to make some noise next season.”
Valia expressed the eagerness and excitement of the team this season to get back on the court and face its opponents, after having trained tirelessly this off-season.
“Everybody improved a lot from the beginning of the season,” Valia said. “And there was a lot of growth that the team underwent throughout the season, which I think will carry on to next season. Now that we have got our own courts, the players are going to be a lot more motivated to get better during the off-season.”
The Jumbos’ season has officially come to an end, with the team finishing at No. 24 in the CSA rankings.