Fresh off a 1-3 start at the Navy Invitational in Annapolis, Maryland, the squash team looked for some home cooking as they took on fellow New York City school NYU at the Lombardi Center squash courts in the Bronx. The Rams fell 5-4 in a close battle with the Bobcats Saturday night, in a match in which Fordham could not capitalize on a strong start.
Following a 11-8, 11-3, 11-13, 11-7 loss by Fordham senior Kincade Webster to NYU’s Max McCarthy in the first position, the Rams rattled off three straight victories to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the match. The first Fordham win came courtesy of sophomore Peter Yuen, who topped Gabe Bassil 4-11, 13-11, 7-11, 11-5, 15-3 in the second position. Jeremy Keller, the senior from Switzerland, secured the Rams’ only three game sweep of the night, steamrolling Aditya Kochar 11-5, 11-4, 11-5. It took one more game for Will Pantel to give the Rams their 3-1 lead in a 11-8, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9 trouncing of Ashad Hajeya.
The Bobcats did not fold, and fired back winning the next two games in three-game sweeps. The first victory came from Luca Diadul over Ram junior Alex LaVersa 11-9, 11-8, 11-6, and the second was a loss by one of the Rams’ sophomores John Lennon 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 to Ginno Grocadin.
Fordham seemed to have righted the ship with junior Jimmy Shinnick’s four-game triumph over Arvind Ramgupal 11-4, 11-2, 10-12, 11-8, putting the team one win away from its second win of the season with two positions left to be played.
The Rams proceeded to lose in the final two positions, however, winning a combined total of two games. Bobcat Tyler Kang nipped Sahil Bahri 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9 in the eighth position, forcing the game to come down to the ninth and deciding position. The Rams’ hopes for avoiding a 1-4 start rested on the shoulders of senior Matt Crowe. Crowe was coming in off a solid weekend at Navy, winning two out of his four games played. He looked like he might continue his success when he took the first game of the position 11-9 over NYU’s Morris Lipman. Crowe could not keep the momentum going though, as Lipman swept the next three contests 11-7, 11-8, 11-4 to hand Fordham their fourth loss in five tries.
Fordham was hampered by missed opportunities throughout the match, blowing 3-1 and 4-3 leads. “When the team is up and leading its important to keep focused, what is really important is that each player has prepared himself for the match and are absolutely ready to play” said head coach Bryan Patterson regarding his team’s inability to hold leads.
The result of the match was eerily similar to the last time the these two prominent New York City schools matched up. On Feb. 7 earlier this year, Fordham fell by the exact same score of 5-4 in a match in which, much like this one, they could not capitalize on a lead. In this match, Fordham was once again on the brink of victory, holding a commanding 4-2 lead when they proceeded to drop the last three positions. Perplexlingly enough, it was Matt Crowe who gave up the final point as he did on Saturday.
The Rams sit at 1-4 with a lot of squash left to be played and Coach Patterson channeled the late Yogi Berra when asked about his message to his team: “It’s not over till it’s over, play hard and play tough, Every point counts.”
Fordham is next in action Dec. 5 as they pack their bags to travel to Swarthmore, PA to participate in the Swarthmore Invitational. Its first two match-ups will be against Boston University and the Golden Gophers of Minnesota. The Rams will also get one more shot at NYU this season when they face off on Feb. 6 of next year in the Bronx.