Wesleyan’s squash teams hosted Amherst and Williams in a battle for the Little Three title last Sunday at the Rosenbaum Squash Courts. Wesleyan faced Amherst in the morning and Williams in the afternoon, with the two Massachusetts rivals playing each other in between.
The men went into the weekend with real hopes of putting a lower-seeded but potent Amherst squad away and then upsetting a higher-ranked but beatable Williams side. Unfortunately, illness struck Mike DeLalio ’15, forcing the Cards to play both matches with their numbers 4 through 10 bumped up one spot on the ladder, a major disadvantage. Still, Wesleyan was in it to the bitter end in the match against Amherst and eventually fell 5-4. Zachary Roach ’17 took his match in an easy three after Daniel Sneed ’15, Chris Hart ’17, and Alex Kamisher ’17 put Wesleyan in a great position to win. DeLalio’s absence took its toll, though, and Wesleyan was overmatched at the bottom of the ladder.
They then turned around to face Williams that afternoon. The Ephs, ranked five places above the Cards, ultimately wore the home side down and took the match 8-1. Wes was able to push all but two of the matches to four or five games, but Williams came out on top in all but the fourth-seed match, which Kamisher took in exciting fashion.
Kamisher, who was the only men’s player to go 2-0 on the weekend, won his match in five, and the third game of the contest was perhaps the most exciting of the season. Tied at one game apiece, Kamisher went up in the third game 10-7. The Williams player surged back to even it at ten, and the two proceeded to trade points, with each pushing the other to match point on multiple occasions. After several minutes of absolutely scintillating squash, the score was knotted at 20. The Williams player finally wore Kamisher down and took the game 22-20. Most impressively, Kamisher then dominated games four and five for a comeback victory in an impressive display of endurance, skill, and poise.
Raheem Logan ’16, the team’s number two, reflected on his boys’ performances.
“We needed that experience of losing,” Logan said. “It’s almost like an espresso shot: it wakes you up a little bit. Now we know what it feels like to be on the other side of a 5-4 loss, and we don’t want to have that feeling again.”
Logan definitely saw the positives of the tough Williams result as well.
“We realized that Williams was not unbeatable, and I think we played really well when we thought we had nothing to lose,” Logan said. “I know there are going to be some tough, important matches, but if we can play in a way that’s more free then we’ll have more success.”
The women faced an Amherst team ranked five places above them in the national rankings. Despite yet again displaying its power at the top, with Laila Samy ’18 winning in straight games again at the top seed and Lauren Nelson ’15 winning 3-1 at the number-two spot, the women fell 7-2.
For Samy, the takeaway was positive.
“I thought that we definitely could have beaten Amherst, but it was just unlucky, and we all played some really good matches,” Samy said. “It was a good fight. It was a change in our attitude too.”
The women then faced an even bigger challenge in Williams, ranked 10 seeds above them. The squad fell 7-2 again, with Samy winning 3-0 at the top and Claire Miller ’15 winning her match by default after her opponent retired. Samy, whose winning streak continues, noticed differences between her match against Amherst and her match against Williams.
“My match against Williams was tougher than against Amherst, so I actually got some good competition,” Samy said. “I actually thought I played better against Amherst, and I was tired against Williams.”
Overall, Samy was proud of her team for its performance against Williams.
“Even though Williams was a lot higher ranked than us, we were still there and competed really well,” she said.
Both sides will travel to Williams this Friday to participate in the NESCAC championships. Ranked sixth, the men will play Tufts on Friday in a play-in game, with Middlebury awaiting the winner in the quarterfinals. The women, ranked ninth, will play Colby on Friday with Trinity awaiting the victor in the quarterfinals.