Men and women’s squash claim victories in season opener weekend

A Tufts player returns the ball during a match against Conn. College at the Tufts Squash Center on Feb 1, 2020, the last season Tufts was able to play due to the pandemic. Nicole Garay / The Tufts Daily

Tufts men’s and women’s squash took to the courts in Clinton, N.Y., to win their first three season matches this weekend. On Friday, both Jumbo teams blanked the Hamilton Continentals, each winning 9–0. Both teams brought that same momentum on Saturday when they beat Hobart and William Smith, followed by shutting out Connecticut College. The men’s team, ranked at 18th, lost only one game in the triple-header weekend, while the No. 16 women’s team lost three.

This year, the women’s team is full of new Jumbos, as seven of the nine players made their collegiate debuts this weekend — as this is the first time since 2020 that the team has been allowed to compete. In her first match of the season, senior Natalie Bartlett made a name for herself against the Continentals as she came back from being down 2–1 to ultimately win 3–2.

“We’ve been training super hard and we got a very talented recruiting class, so we are very confident about this season and we were also about this weekend,” Bartlett said.

In their match against the Connecticut College Camels, the Jumbos took a leap of faith, despite the young team.

“We sat out our top three players because we were very confident about [Connecticut] College, meaning we all played three positions higher and still beat them easily 9–0,” Bartlett said.

The men’s team had a similar experience against the Camels, when first-year Oliver Eielson shut out his opponent in his first game, followed by 11–4 and 11–4 wins. Junior Shloke Sahay had an impressive showing when he won his match 11–2, 11–1 and 11–1. The toughest competition of the day was junior Kunal Valia’s, as he not only came back from being down in the first two games but had to go five sets to secure his win.

In their Friday match against the Continentals, the 9–0 score set a new precedent for the Jumbos, since the last time they played them in the 2017–18 season, they suffered a tough 5–4 loss. Against the Hobart Statesmen, the Jumbos ceded one match in the No. 2 position but were able to secure their victory with their 8–1 win.

After extensive travel and a tiring weekend of three games each, the Jumbos will keep the intensity high this upcoming week. As they look forward to their next games, as well as the rest of their season, the Jumbos feel confident to continue putting it all out there on the court.

“We’re excited about Harvard on Tuesday. They are better than us. They’re No. 1 in the country by a head and shoulders, but we have a great relationship with their team since we used their courts in previous years, so we’re excited for the challenge to play them and learn from them,” said Bartlett.

Both teams will be taking on No. 1 Harvard at Tufts Squash Center on Tuesday.


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