Dec. 5, 2005
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Still seeking its first match win, the squash team lost to Colby College, ranked nationally No.17 in 2004, 9-0 on Saturday. MIT has now dropped its first four contests of the year, while being outscored 33-3 during that stretch.
Colby played Northeastern on the MIT courts prior to the match with the Engineers.
"I watched the Colby-Northeastern match and thought we'd have a dogfight [with Colby], but I felt the match was winnable," said head coach Jim Taylor. "Except for a few bright spots, we played very poorly. I am surprised at the lopsided scores. They were not that much more skilled than we are."
The "bright spots" were the performances by freshman Justin Stilwell and junior Jehan DeFonseca. Stilwell, coming off a week and a half layoff due to flu, played his steady brand of squash. DeFonseca came within a point of winning the first game. He was in the match despite final game scores of 9-2 and 9-3.
"In collegiate squash you only score a point when you serve," said Taylor. "You can win lots of 'points,' but when you aren't serving, that just gets you the next serve. You have to win two points in a row to score one point. Jehan won lots of points in his last games but never could string enough together to get a lot on the scoreboard."
Both junior Duncan Ma at No.1 and senior captain Nadeem Mazen at No.2 won their first games very easily. Whether they let up, ran out of gas, or their opponents just played better down the stretch is hard to say.
"I'm guessing it was a combination of the three," said Taylor. "When you win a game easily you tend to assume that the rest of the match will go that way. When you fall behind in the next game you wonder what is going wrong. You may even change the winning tactics you employed in the easy game. Also, having scorched your opponent, he will change his style and intensity. Those two factors can account for much of the difference."
With four games in the books, the Engineers now have a long break before their next match against the U.S. Naval Academy on January 21, 2006. The break couldn't come at a better time for the struggling MIT squad, which will have plenty of time to practice and reverse the direction of the season in the new year.