In a story that flew under the radar, the Colgate men’s squash team traveled to Princeton for its season-ending national tournament last weekend.The team went into the event having won consecutive Chaffee Division titles, and it had high hopes of earning a third against the rapidly-improving teams in the bracket.The Raiders drew Fordham in their first round, a team they had beaten soundly the previous year.
To the delight of the Colgate team, the tradition continued.After several hard-fought games, Colgate took the match, 7-2, to advance and face off with Northeastern in the second round.Northeastern’s emerging program and new recruits made their team the favorite in this year’s Chaffee Division Tournament.After several five-set matches and tremendous personal efforts, the Colgate men lost to Northeastern by a score of 6-3, the first loss for the Colgate men in tournament play in over two years.
Undeterred, the Raiders faced Penn State on Sunday in the third-place game.Junior Brooks Hopple and seniors Marc Frankel and Jon Lebedoff lost the first, second and third-seed matches respectively, but Colgate swept the rest of the table, registering a convincing 6-3 victory and giving the Raiders a final ranking of 35th in the country.
“It’s the best feeling in the world to end on such a high note with my teammates rooting me on,” senior Adam Karger said, who won his match in five sets.
The Princeton tournament also marks the end of the distinguished squash careers of four of the Colgate starters, Frankel, Lebedoff, Karger and Brad Marschalk; however, the team will return juniors Hopple and Andy Culp, sophomore Hasan Kazi, and first-years Alex Plunkett and Matt Bloch next season.The four departing seniors have seen a tremendous growth in the Colgate program over the past few years: the matches where the Colgate men would have to struggle to fill a roster are long in the past.The team now boasts a full lineup and several reserve players, all of whom practice and train with the team regularly, as the level of play on the Colgate teamhas been raised considerably in the past three or four years.
“I’m sad that it’s over,” Karger said, “But I realize that we have some great new leaders on the team.We’ve done the best we can in our four years, and I’m confident that the returning players will secure the future of men’s squash at Colgate.”
With three consecutive division titles in tow, the Colgate squash team now looks ahead to the challenge of re-establishing dominance in the Chaffee Division next year.