by Jimmy Sullivan
The Fordham Squash team defeated Bryant but lost to Bucknell this weekend. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)
The Fordham Men’s Squash team split a pair of matches against Bryant University and Bucknell University on Saturday afternoon. With the week’s results, the team is now 14-3 on the season, but Saturday’s loss to Bucknell marks their first in 11 weeks.
The team’s Saturday slate started with a 9 a.m. match against Bryant. The Bulldogs came in 41st in last week’s edition of the College Squash Association rankings. It appeared as though they would be a tough out for a Rams team that came into the day winners of eight matches in a row. As it turned out, the Bulldogs were no match for Fordham.
The Rams took the first match easily with nary a shred of difficulty from Bryant. In fact, the Rams were so dominant that they were able to take the match without conceding a single game in any of the individual matches. Freshman Tommy White won his match by only allowing his opponent, Rich Appel, to earn three points. Additionally, only one Bulldog mustered eight points in a single game. Remarkably, it was the eighth time this season that Fordham won a match without allowing an opponent victory in any of the individual matches. Unfortunately, the team’s match against Bucknell did not prove to be nearly as easy, and the outcome was not in the Rams’ favor.
The Rams lost that match in a heartbreaking 5-4 finish and saw their nine-match winning streak come to an end. However, the news was not all bad for Fordham.
Junior and Whitestone, New York native Will Pantle won his matches on that day to improve to a staggering 15-1 on the season. “It’s nice to have teammates who help out, and even after playing for 10 years, it’s nice to know I have support from my Fordham teammates,” Pantle said. Other outstanding performers were freshman Justin Deckoff and graduate student Joseph Hughes, who both improved to 14-2 on the year, along with freshman Griffin Fitzgerald, who, with two wins on Saturday, pulled his record to 14-1. While the winning streak was snapped on Saturday afternoon, the performance of these players and others is a major positive for the team going forward.
Next up for Fordham is the Northeastern Round Robin, which will take place February 9-11. The tournament will feature Brandeis University, Northeastern University, Boston College, Boston University and Minnesota University. This will be the final regular-season tournament for the Rams, as the College Squash Association Tournament takes place Feb. 23-25. The Rams are looking to qualify for that tournament for the first time since the 2015-16 season. “Even though we are an individual sport, all of our team members are important from the number-nine spot all the way to the top three,” Pantle said. “We need to continue to do our job and just remember that we always need to continue working hard.”
The Rams have worked hard this season, and the results have shown that their labors are paying off. They will need to continue working hard if they want to maintain their current success.