Squash teams finish regular season by sweeping Williams at home

by Emily Wechsler | 2/12/15 6:01pm

02.13.15.sports.squash_Annie-Duncan
The women’s squash team beat Williams 6-3 at home. The team is competing in the Kurtz Cup this weekend at Harvard University.
Source: Annie Duncan

The squash teams ended their seasons Wednesday with wins against Williams College at the Berry Squash Courts. The No. 10 men blanked the Ephs 9-0, and the No. 9 women stumbled slightly, getting the victory 6-3. Prior to the match, the teams recognized seven seniors — Sarah Caughey ’15, Helena Darling ’15, Marian Lurio ’15, Oona Morris ’15, Mark Funk ’15, Bayard Kuensell ’15 and Michael Mistras ’15 — who played their last home matches.

The end of the season has been busy for Dartmouth squash, as the teams both played two matches this past weekend. The men’s squash team (6-7, 2-5) beat then-No. 13 Brown University 9-0 before falling to No. 5 Yale University 7-2. The women (6-7, 1-6) also split their weekend matches, beating No. 11 Brown 6-3 and losing to No. 5 Yale 9-0. Less than 24 hours after beating Williams on Wednesday night, the women headed off to Harvard University to compete for the Kurtz Cup in the College Squash Association’s Women’s National Team Championships.

The men will head to their College Squash Association National Team Championship tournament next weekend at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Lurio, who played her last college squash season matches against Williams, said her career has flown by.

“It’s weird. A little sad. Bittersweet,” she said. “I really enjoy being on the team, and it’s been a really good experience, but I can’t believe it’s over.”

Funk said he “couldn’t be happier” as he ended his last regular season.

“I’m happy to go out with these boys,” he said. “Great class of freshmen. My parents made it to almost every match.”

In honor of the seniors there was strong attendance at the match from friends and parents.

The men played a dominant match against Williams, with every player handling his opponent in four or less games.

“We knew we were the better team, and everybody won,” Funk said. “Everybody came in prepared and executed their game plan.”

Head coach Hansi Wiens said that the men have been “on a roll” the last couple weeks.

Though they won, the women had more trouble with their competition, losing three matches against Williams and going to five games in two of their wins.

“It wasn’t our best match, but we won and hopefully it’s out of our system,” Lurio said. “It just wasn’t the best day.”

Lurio said that the match was made more exciting because Janel Gaube ’18, who was injured the entire season, played and won her first college match.

Against Brown, Wiens said, both teams played well and won comfortably.

“We played Yale on Sunday, which we knew was much harder,” Wiens said. “Our women played well but didn’t really have a chance. Our men had a chance, we lost 7-2 but lost three matches in five games and in the end just didn’t push through. In the end it comes to fighting, and I think Yale just fought harder than we did. They weren’t really better. They were just so close, and it was not our day.”

This leaves the women to look forward to this weekend’s championship and the men to look forward to next weekend. Both teams may face Williams again at their respective tournaments.

“Originally, we were upset that we didn’t make the top eight because that was our goal set for the season,” Funk said. “But the B-draw has Princeton, it has us, it has Navy, it has Cornell, who we narrowly beat 5-4. We lost to Princeton 6-3, so I think we have a chance to beat some teams.”

The women’s win over Brown last weekend leaves the team feeling positively about competing for the Kurtz Cup, as they may face the Bears again in the Championship.

Both the men and the women missed the top eight and are instead seeded in the B-division — the women, Wiens said, “basically by one match.”

“But it was a good run,” Wiens said. “They fought well, they played well all season, and they are positive. If you try everything and you don’t win, that’s fair enough.”

Under Wiens’ leadership, the women’s team has taken home the Kurtz cup twice, once in 2010 and again in 2013.

“Now there’s not much you can do. Just look after yourself. Eat well. Rest well. And then just think positive. Because you’ve done the work,” Wiens said. “Never change things too much.”

Aggie Bixler Kurtz, for whom the cup is named, started the women’s squash team at Dartmouth in 1972.

The women will play Bates College, who they beat 7-2 earlier in the season, at 2:15 p.m. today.

“This weekend should be really exciting matches,” Lurio said. “Even though I’m not playing, I’m hoping this weekend will be a highlight [of the team’s season].”

Lurio is a member of The Dartmouth Staff.