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Monday, Mar 4, 2024

Despite slow start, men's squash optimistic about winter season

Teddy Best ’22, co-captain of men’s squash, stands at the top of the team’s lineup. Courtesy of Will Costello
Teddy Best ’22, co-captain of men’s squash, stands at the top of the team’s lineup. Courtesy of Will Costello

Middlebury men’s squash has a history of success. Ever since the team earned varsity status in 2008, it has consistently ranked among the top 25 schools in the nation. Most recently, the team won the Summers Cup — the national championship for the teams ranked No. 17 to No. 24 in the nation — in 2017 and finished second in 2020. 

Led by senior captains Teddy Best ’22 and Nate Moll ’22, the 2021–22 team aims to continue its legacy of success. In accordance with this history and the strength of their squad, the Panthers entered the season ranked No. 21 in the nation. 

“January is going to be big for us as we have around ten matches in that month alone,” said Drew Patty ’24, a sophomore on the team. “The team has been working very hard to prepare, thinking about different aspects of our game and how we can improve not just as individuals but also as a team.” 

This strong work ethic and leadership will be instrumental for the Panthers this winter. 

The team, unfortunately, has struggled in its first two matches. 

On Nov. 20, the team traveled to the University of St. Lawrence to participate in a doubleheader weekend. In the first match of the season, the Panthers faced off against No. 12 Western Ontario University. Western Ontario won, 9–0, against Middlebury. 

Despite the lopsided scoreline, Middlebury’s performance wasn’t all bad. Moll won his first two games by scores of 11–6 and 11–3 but lost the next three games to fall 2–3 to his opponent. Sophomore Omar Nemr ’24, too, held his own in his match. After falling behind by two games, Nemr came back to even the score before ultimately losing in the final game.

The next day, on Nov. 21, Middlebury faced St. Lawrence. The hosts entered the match ranked No. 20 in the nation. In another one-sided contest, St. Lawrence took home the win, 8–1. 

Again, although the Panthers were not content with this result, there were certainly some positive takeaways from this match. Carter Joyce ’24 won his match in four games to give the Panthers their first victory of the season. 

“It was a tough weekend for us,” Patty said about these first two matches. “St. Lawrence and Western Ontario are both good teams, but there was definitely a lot of frustration following those losses. We are taking that frustration and putting the energy into training to become the best variation of our team we can be by January and hopefully put some better results on the scoreboard in the future.” 

The team plays its next matches on Jan. 7, 8 and 9 against Bowdoin, Colby and Bates, respectively.