Squash Wins Four of Five in Hectic Weekend


Fordham’s squash team won four out of five of its first home games this weekend. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

By Jimmy Sullivan

Senior Justin Esposito says the key to the Fordham Squash season is resilience.

“We had to deal with some unexpected changes to the lineup, especially during the first half of the season, but several players have definitely stepped up to the challenge and played their best squash.”

This weekend, the Rams showcased that resilience, and the team is rounding into form at exactly the right time.

After last weekend’s cancellation due to weather, the Rams were back in action with a taxing triple-header on Saturday and a doubleheader on Sunday. Sahel Anwar’s squad took four of five matches on the weekend and improved to 16-5 in the team’s second-to-last tournament prior to the College Squash Association National Championships.

Believe it or not, the weekend started inauspiciously for the Rams as they dropped their first match on Saturday with a final score of 8-1 to Bucknell University. The lone winner for the Rams was freshman Dylan Panichello, who took his match in five sets over Bucknell’s Maxwell Oliphant. Every other Ram lost his match in straight sets.

Following the match, the team made the long trip from the Bronx to Hamilton, New York for two matches with Colgate University and Hamilton College. That’s when things took a considerable turn for the better for the Rams.

Fordham dropped just four individual matches Saturday afternoon en route to two victories. First, the Rams vanquished Colgate 8-1 in a dominant performance. Not all of the individual matches were cakewalks, though; the best match was sophomore Tommy White’s victory in a five-set thriller over Colgate’s Dillon Howard. Fordham had a chance to sweep the Raiders, but Colgate’s Daniel Lucas pulled out the final individual matchup over Fordham freshman George Holiat.

By the end of Saturday, the Rams had won two of their three matches. When Sunday rolled around, Fordham’s fortune continued.

The Rams took two more matches against Siena College and Bard University; these matches were played in Annendale-on-Hudson, New York, which was a more manageable drive of slightly under 100 miles up the Taconic. Fordham was tied after the first four individual matches with Bard, but the last five Ram players to take the courts took matters into their own hands and won all of their individual matches in straight sets. The win against Hamilton College was impressive, but it was also crucial for another reason.

“The win against Hamilton College was a big confidence boost, as they are ranked above us and beating them will affect how our team is seeded at Nationals,” Esposito said. “I think the team is feeling very optimistic right now and energized for our last three weeks of training and matches before Nationals.

Despite these two matches being played at 10 a.m. and noon, respectively, Fordham seemed unaffected, and the team was even more dominant in the afternoon when they swept through Siena 7-0.

With the four wins, Fordham is now 16-5 with two matches left on the season. The leaders for them have been Esposito and sophomore Justin Deckoff, who are both 16-5 this season. Both men have won nine of their last ten matches, and so has Fordham.

Sahel Anwar’s squad has two matches left in the regular season. Fordham will take on NYU at home on Feb. 9 and finish the season on the road against Wesleyan the next day.

The College Squash Championship is coming. Fordham looks ready.