Bates’ squash teams put a ribbon on another fantastic regular season this past weekend, winning their final two matches of the year. The women finished the regular season 12-3 on a six match winning streak, while the men finished 12-2 on an eight match winning streak. For Coach Pat Cosquer ‘97, these streaks are hopefully a sign of things to come as the postseason looms.
“The men have really worked hard these past few weeks since the loss to Middlebury. They are committed to taking care of themselves off the court, which enables them to come into practice and matches ready to consistently compete at a high level and helps them stay healthy and fit,” said Cosquer in an email. “Most importantly, the men’s team plays squash for themselves and for each other, and they understand that they will really need to push themselves and each other for a few more weeks in order to reach and achieve the team’s goals of reaching the NESCAC Finals and finishing with a Top 12 National Ranking.” Cosquer heaped praise on his entire ladder, pointing to Spencer Burt’s ‘17 leadership as captain and Hatata’s steady brilliance at number one specifically as keys to success.
On the women’s side, Cosquer pointed to two key victories two weeks ago against Franklin & Marshall and Amherst, who the women beat 6-3 and 8-1, respectively, as turning points in the season. “Strong team wins over competitive teams like F&M and Amherst have given the women’s team a renewed sense of confidence,” he said. “I trust that they’ll bring this preparation, focus and confidence into Nescacs next week. Luca Polgar, Kristyna Alexova and Vicky Arjoon are a very formidable top 3 and when they’re healthy and playing well, the women’s team can beat anyone they play.”
On Saturday, in their penultimate match of the regular season, the men’s side blanked MIT 9-0. Ahmed Hatata ‘17 continued his stellar play at the top of the ladder, winning in straight sets. His Egyptian compatriot, Mahmoud Yousry ‘20, was similarly efficient in the second spot. The men’s side only lost 3 sets collectively in their rout. The women were similarly stellar, as they dispatched their opponent Wellesley 8-1 on Saturday. Luca Polgar was dominant in the 1 spot, winning 11-7,11-2,11-3, while the sophomore duo of Kristyna Alexova ‘19 and Vicky Arjoon ‘19 both won in straight sets in the two and three spots respectively.
On Sunday night, in the class of 2017’s final home matches at Bates’ squash facility, both teams made handy work of their conference opponent Tufts. The men swept, 9-0, winning all nine matches in straight sets. Hatata proved dominant again, casually defeating Tufts’ number one in under 15 minutes. He conceded just six points. The women won 7-2, going in straight sets in all their victories, and only dropping matches at the bottom two rungs of the ladder. Darrius Campbell, who won his final home match 5,4 and 5 on Sunday, had this to say on the experience. “It honestly did not feel like my last home match, mostly because I was not thinking about it. I could get sentimental and take in the moment, but I also know that I have not had the best season in terms of results, so I need to focus on finishing the season strong if I want to play in individual nationals this year.”
Both teams now turn the page to the postseason, as they begin to prepare for the NESCAC championships this weekend, followed by the national team championships for the men February 17-19, and February 24-26 for the women. The individual national championships take place March 3-5. Captain Emma Dunn ‘17 emphasized routine, confidence and a team mentality as the keys to success over the next few weeks. “We are going to keep training like we normally do and continue our desire to win every match we can,” she said in an email. “We know that we can do it and we have the skill, but at the end of the day it comes down to being mentally prepared and believing in your ability to win. Every woman on the team is doing what they need to do so they are able to give 100% during all our matches.” Cosquer similarly mentioned that staying focused on routine will be key in preparation for the men
Asked if any ladder changes can be expected as the postseason approaches, Cosquer wittily employed the old adage; “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”