By MAX PRINZ
ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
The Fordham men’s squash team suffered a tough 7-2 defeat to NYU on Sunday in its final home match and last match of the regular season.
The Rams had faced NYU earlier this season on the road and lost 5-2. This match was sure to be even tougher, especially with the Rams missing senior Jack O’Brien.
“Missing Jack definitely hurt us,” said head coach Bryan Patterson. “Everybody had to play a spot above their usual place. With Jack here I bet the match would have been a lot closer. This was a really tough team.”
Fordham started the afternoon with three underclassmen. Sophomore Matthew Ieraci joined freshmen Jeremy Keller and Paul Monaghan in looking to set the tone for the Rams.
The early matches were filled with long rallies and a number of hard-fought points. Ieraci and Monaghan were unable to pull out a victory as Ieraci lost in straight sets and Monaghan lost to Alex Bakes in four sets. Keller’s match was the longest of the day as he grabbed one of the two Fordham victories, defeating Aakash Shah in five sets.
The second round of matches brought similar results. This time, it was the senior leadership looking to make an impact: Seniors Ethan Brooks and Quetzalli Torres played at the second and eighth spots. Torres was responsible for the second Rams victory, knocking off Hakeem Elliott in four sets. Sophomore Carlos Ortiz also took part in the second string of matches, losing in straight sets. Unfortunately for the Rams, NYU played some great squash through the first two sets of matches.
“I think NYU will probably be in our division when we play at the team championships,” said Coach Patterson. “We’ll probably be playing in that 41-48 category, and I think NYU will be there as well. We’re looking forward to the championships at Yale, but it’s going to be tough.”
The day’s third set of matches brought more poor results for the Rams. Senior Marcus Strommsmo was defeated in straight sets, as was sophomore Ross Garlick. Freshman Kincade Webster tried valiantly to give the Rams a No. 1 spot win but he could not, losing to James Hill in straight sets.
Various family and friends of the student athletes did their best to lend their support, cheering right up until the end of the match. There were many flashes of great play from some of the younger players like Webster, Monaghan and Keller. Squash is clearly poised to get better and better.
“Those young guys are definitely going to get better; there’s no doubt in my mind,” said Patterson. “I think they’ve learned a lot this season just from playing their position. We’re playing really tough matches, and you can see the guys improving as they play these matches. They get a little bit better with each match they play. A lot of hard work this season, a lot of hard work in the off season and I’m sure they’ll do really well.”