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Men’s Squash Splits Two Matches Against Navy, Connecticut College

By Robert Aronstam

STAFF WRITER

The squash team traveled to Yale University on Saturday to compete in two intercollegiate matches.

In the first match of the day, the Naval Academy dominated the lower two-thirds of the lineup and secured the victory by a score of 6-3. The #4 through #9 matches were each three game routs. On a lighter note, MIT soundly defeated Connecticut College 7-2. The win over Connecticut is MIT’s 3rd in 2 years.

Top three pull off double wins

MIT had strong performances from their top three players: Kunal K. Surana ’03, Simon C. Bradbury (CMI), and Naveen Goela ’03, who each won both of their matches. Surana cruised through his two contests, winning both in three games: 9-1, 9-5, 9-6 vs. Navy and 9-6, 9-3, 9-4 vs. Connecticut. Bradbury and Goela finished off their Connecticut opponents in three games by scores of 9-2, 9-2, 9-1 and 9-4, 9-3, 9-2, respectively.

However, both players needed five games to defeat their Navy foes. Goela’s match was particularly hard fought. He rebounded from a 1-2 games deficit and won the final two games in tiebreakers. The resulting match score was 2-9, 9-7, 5-9, 10-8, 10-8.

MIT dominates Connecticut

Continuing the trend of the past few years, MIT easily beat Connecticut College. The #8 and #9 players, Rodney E. Huang ’03 and Steven S. Liu ’04, overwhelmed their opponents in three games by scores of 9-2, 9-0, 9-4 and 9-6, 9-3, 9-4, respectively. Rita E. Monson ’04 added yet another classic five-set win to her career total. The match also marks her second five-game win over Connecticut. Her first came at last year’s team national tournament.

Team captain Robert A. Finn ’02 won a dramatic five-game match despite being hampered by an ankle that he twisted in the Navy match. The final score of this back-and-forth battle at the #5 position was 9-7, 1-9, 9-1, 3-9, 9-4. Finn’s court movement was remarkably good, considering his injury. He never seemed to falter, even when he opponent ran him from side to side.

Recalling the complications of his injury, Finn said, “I had to work a lot harder because of [the ankle injury].” However, Finn did an excellent job of disguising his condition, so that his opponent would not take advantage. In fact, it was not until late in the match that Finn collapsed on the court in agony, shortly after being wrong-footed. Even after this incident, Finn took less than a minute to recover and resume play.

Finn maintained his preferred style of play throughout the match. His relentless hustle was only slightly tempered by the wounded ankle. On most winning points, he scrambled and retrieved every shot from his opponent. He mixed hard drives along the side wall with off-speed shots that were only a few inches above the telltale. This eventually allowed him to drive the ball past his opponent. Using this strategy, Finn emerged with a very well-deserved victory.

The squash team continues its tour of New England with trips to Amherst and Wesleyan next week. For updated match schedules, pictures, and other information, please visit the team’s Website at .