This article originally appeared in The Fordham Ram in January 2018.
The Fordham Squash team started its season by going undefeated at the Hudson Valley Team Tournament hosted by Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.
The team started its weekend with wins on Saturday over Vassar College and Swarthmore College. In the first matchup against Vassar, the team only dropped one game en route to a 9-0 victory. After losing the first match of the second contest, Fordham won the final eight matches to beat the Garnet by a score of 8-1.
Perhaps more impressively, the Rams were forced to play at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning against Lafayette University and Boston University, respectively. This quick turnaround had no effect on the team, as it pulled a repeat performance of Saturday with wins of 9-0 and 8-1 against the Leopards and the Terriers. These matches, like the ones the day before, were held at Vassar College, which is just a 70-mile trip from Fordham’s Rose Hill campus.
The success of the team this weekend was a collective team effort. Senior Peter Yuen won three of his four matches at the number one position, and senior John Lennon matched that effort in the number two spot; Lennon defeated Vassar’s Mathieu Rizk in five sets on Saturday and came back from a 2-1 deficit in the process. Junior and Whitestone, New York native Will Pantle won all four of his matches without dropping a set, while Madison, New Jersey sophomore Bruce Czachor also went undefeated and finished off his run with a five-set victory over Boston University’s Joel Lavoie on Sunday (1-11, 4-11, 11-9, 14-12, 11-4).
Freshman newcomer Griffin Fitzgerald won all 12 of his sets en route to a 4-0 start to his season, and fellow first-year Ram Tommy White did the same in the sixth slot. Senior Joseph Hughes also went 4-0 without dropping a set, as did freshman and Red Hook, New York native Justin Deckoff. Instead of speaking about himself, Hughes chose to praise his teammates: “We have excellent senior leaders who were able to coach some of the younger guys in their first collegiate matches which led to a team victory.” Last but not least, Will Beatrez, occupier of the ninth spot in the Fordham lineup, went 3-0 over the weekend but did not get a chance to improve that record because Lafayette had only eight players in its contest. The Rams rolled out the same lineup in all of their games over the weekend as first-year head coach Sahel Anwar did not want to mess with a winning formula.
Next up for the Rams is a trip to the Navy Round Robin this weekend in Annapolis, Maryland. The team will compete against the United States Naval Academy, Georgetown University, Haverford University and Johns Hopkins University. “We have Navy coming up and they are an extremely fit team and so we are going to have to play smart and be prepared to fight through some long matches,” Hughes says. The team will look to build off a weekend that saw it go 4-0 and earn victories in 34 of a possible 36 individual matches. In the same tournament last year, the Rams dropped all four of their matches in Annapolis against Navy, the University of Washington, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown.