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Squash Finishes at 23rd

MIT Wins One Match, Loses Two at National Championship

By Robert Aronstam

TEAM MEMBER

The varsity squash team won its final match in the national tournament to claim seventh place in the C division of the competition. With 8 teams in each division, the seventh-place finish translates to a national ranking of 23rd. This ranking is down from MIT’s 16th-place ranking last season.

Despite strong individual performances, MIT was unable to win its first two matches at the tournament. On Friday morning, Colby easily defeated MIT by a score of 8-1. This victory matched Colby’s near sweep of MIT during the regular season.

The outgunned MIT squad was hindered further by a revamped Colby lineup that included a player who did not compete against MIT in the regular season.

MIT’s next loss came at the hands of Vassar College in the Saturday match. Despite the 6-3 loss, MIT had a few highlights. Rita E. Monson ’04, the only female in the competition, easily defeated her opponent in the number eight match.

Monson maintained control of the court, running her opponent from side to side relentlessly. Her drives to the backcourt prevented her opponent from making any offensive shots, and eventually forced him to make an error.

Naveen Goela ’03 provided another notable match, in an unconventional five-game win. In squash, an individual game is decided by a tiebreaker when the game is tied at 14-14. The player who reached the score of 14 first is given the choice of a 1-point or 3-point tiebreaker. The 3-point option is most often chosen, in order to prevent a fluke shot from deciding the game, and is nearly always chosen in fifth-game tiebreakers.

Generally, players don’t wish to allow a single point to decide the outcome of a match that has consisted of well over 100 points. Goela, however, didn’t feel compelled to follow this convention in his match. Goela called for a one-point tiebreaker in the fifth game, shocking his opponent. Fortunately, Goela dropped a winner into the corner, preventing any second-guessing of his decision.

MIT victorious in final match

MIT broke the losing streak by defeating Connecticut College in the Sunday match. The Engineers pulled out four 3-2 matches, sealing a win that duplicated a home win against Connecticut College during the regular season.

Monson had a particularly thrilling five-set victory. Pounding the ball with power and precision, Monson turned in one of her finest performances of the season. Though her opponent was often able to match her shot for shot, Monson’s incessant cross-court drives to the back corner eventually won the match for her.

Hong, Monson to play at Harvard

MIT’s number-one player, Eric A. Hong ’01, will compete in the men’s Individual National Tournament to be held this weekend at Harvard University. Monson will compete in the women’s tournament, posing the formidable task of competing against other women for the first time in the season.

Goela may also compete in individual nationals, pending the rankings of the tournament committee. Hong has competed in the tournament in previous years, while this year will be Monson’s first.