Ephs Squash Comes Back Against All Odds from 4-1 to Emerge with 5-4 Victory Against Middlebury

Will Means '20
Will Means '20

MIDDLEBURY, VT - Men's Squash quickly recovered from quarterfinal action against Bowdoin to play No. 17 Middlebury at 5:00pm at the Bostwick Squash Center. The match did not dissapoint as the Men left the Squash Center at 10:00pm after five hours of gruelling battle. In the opening weekend of matches in 2019, the Panthers bested the Ephs in an exciting 5-4 thriller, which was neck and neck throughout.

In a reversal of the previous encounter, the Ephs got off to a slow start, going down 3-0 after Co-Captain Ben Eisenberg '19 (#9) was defeated in a tight four gamer after Eisenberg climbed to a 1-0 lead. Wyatt Khosrowshahi '21 (#3) traded game for game but ultimately fell 11-8 in a hard fought five game duel. Then, Carl Shuck '20 (#2) was leading in the third game at 1-1 apiece but the lead slipped away and momentum changed hands, which resulted in a 3-1 loss. 

The Ephs got on the board with a huge 3-0 win from David Pincus '20 (#8), who had previously lost to his Midd opponent in the previous two exchanges. Krish Bhavnani '22 (#6) was in a marathon match, trading point for point with his opponent. Leading 2-1, Bhavnani dropped a contested fourth game 11-8 and unluckily was edged 11-8 in the deciding game. The match stood at 4-1 Middlebury.

Shortly after, Co-Captain John Fitzgerald '19 (#1) stepped onto court against the Midd opponent he lost the deciding match to earlier in the year to come out with the same outcome as Pincus, a 3-0 victory and the overall match score at Ephs: 2 and Middlebury: 4. 

The margin of error was razor thin as the Ephs needed to rally the remaining matches. A.J. Solecki '21 (#7) was all business against a skilled Midd player and was up 2-1 and locked in at 8-8 in the third and had match ball at 10-9 but lost the next point to send the match to a tiebreaker at 10-10. Showing grit and ice, Solecki hit winner after winner to win 12-10 and add another point for the Ephs. Not more than a couple minutes later, Jacob Bassil '22 (#5) was up 2-1 and 9-6 in the fourth before his opponent dug back to 9-9. Bassil lined up a forehand kill to give him a match ball before winning the match on a stroke and sending the series to a decider.

William Means '20 (#4) was ready to go the moment he stepped on court going up 10-6 but his opponent squeezed out four straight points to send the first game to a tiebreaker and secured the first game 13-11. Means fought tooth and nail to capture the second game 11-8 and then stormed through the third game 11-4 to lead 2-1. Looking as if the match would go to the Ephs, his Midd opponent returned the favor winning the fourth game 11-2. Means reset after the fourth holding a two-point lead throughout the fifth game only to pull away at the end and win 11-6 to give the Ephs a 5-4 victory over Middlebury. 

The victory over Middlebury sent the Ephs to their first NESCAC Championship in four years. In tomorrow's Championship match, the Ephs will have a rematch against No. 2 Trinity at 12:00pm at the Bostwick Squash Center. 

  Middlebury College Rating Williams College Rating Winner's Score Winner Status
1S Ghaeli, Justin A 5.48799 Fitzgerald, John C 5.4172 11-7,11-6,14-12 Williams College C
2S Ellen, Jacob  5.3775 Shuck, Carl W. 5.35398 11-6,2-11,13-11,11-3 Middlebury College C
3S Cembalest, Will  5.28444 Khosrowshahi, Wyatt  5.31101 11-6,5-11,11-8,5-11,11-8 Middlebury College C
4S Kagan, Jacob A. 5.40392 Means, William W 5.27975 11-13,11-8,11-4,2-11,11-6 Williams College C
5S Bermingham, Nicholas O. 5.27696 Bassil, Jacob  5.27905 6-11,11-6,11-8,11-9 Williams College C
6S Best, Theodore S. 5.43191 Bhavnani, Krish S 5.21561 11-9,10-12,9-11,11-8,11-8 Middlebury College C
7S Epley, John C 5.34274 Solecki, A.J.  5.30819 11-4,11-9,3-11,12-10 Williams College C
8S Hinton, Wiatt F. 5.17757 Pincus, David  5.12386 11-7,11-9,11-9 Williams College C
9S Merrill, Alexander O. 5.02135 Eisenberg, Ben R. 5.08085 8-11,11-4,11-8,11-4 Middlebury College C