Squash Splits Local Weekend

Jimmy Sullivan, Fordham Squash

Fordham Squash has gotten off to an excellent start in the 2019–20 season, winning seven of its first nine matches. The Rams came into this year with high expectations, having won last year’s Chaffee Cup at the Collegiate Squash Association Championship. This year’s team, heading into this weekend, picked up right where last year’s left off.

The Rams started the weekend with a Friday evening matchup against Stanford. The meeting would be the first home contest for head coach Sahel Anwar’s team this season, and the Rams kicked off their home slate in electrifying fashion, with a dominating performance in which each Fordham player won his individual match. The only close call was sophomore Patrick Rodden’s match against Stanford’s Chris Peisch, which went to five sets. Despite dropping the fourth set, Rodden buckled down to win the fifth set and maintain Fordham’s momentum.

However, Fordham’s Friday victory did not carry over into Saturday morning’s contest with California. Fordham senior and leadoff player William Douglass won his match to start the day against Cal’s Charlie Love in five sets. But Douglass would be the only winner on the day for the Rams, as the Golden Bears took the next eight individual contests to win the match 8–1. The score belied how competitive some of the individual matchups were, as freshman Jacob Bennett, junior Justin Deckoff, sophomore Dylan Panichello and freshman Caleb Schumaker all took their opponents to five sets before ultimately falling.

In the afternoon, though, the Rams bounced back with a resounding 7–2 victory over Northeastern. The Rams were particularly strong on the back end, as they took the final five matches to down the Huskies and move to 9–3 on the season. But once again, inconsistency plagued Fordham on Sunday, as the Rams fell 9–0 to Columbia to finish the weekend with a split.

Statistically speaking, several players have begun to distinguish themselves in the early going of the season. Junior Justin Deckoff has helped fill the void left by Justin Esposito, who graduated after last season. Deckoff has won 10 of his first 12 matches to start the year and has the best individual record on the team. His fellow junior, Griffin Fitzgerald, is not far behind with a 9–3 mark, while freshman Jacob Bennett has put up the same record in an impressive start to his Fordham career. Bennett is one of three freshmen on the Rams, with Justin George and Caleb Schumacher as the others. The other two first-year players are also off to good starts, with George at 5–1 and Schumacher at 7–3.

Fordham Squash will be in action this weekend with home matches against Washington University of St. Louis, Bard College and New York University. The matches kick off at 9 a.m. Saturday on the Lombardi Squash Courts.