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Men’s squash advances to semifinals, falls to Wesleyan at CSA Nationals

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nora Princiotti

With a 6-3 loss to Wesleyan Sunday, the men’s squash team’s 2014 season reached a somber conclusion.

It was a loss in the consolation match of the College Squash Association Team Nationals, coming shortly after a defeat of No. 21 Bowdoin 5-4 in the opening round and a loss to No. 17 Middlebury in the semifinals.

The Colonials end this year with a 7-12 overall record and the same No. 20 ranking that they finished last season’s Team Nationals with.

Earlier this season, the Colonials – then ranked No. 22 – narrowly upset Bowdoin 5-4. But Friday, things looked to be in the Polar Bear’s favor. GW trailed Bowdoin almost all day long – first 2-0 and then 3-1 – until, one by one, the Colonials’ top five players rallied to win each of their matches.

Freshman Nicolas Valderrama, who had clinched the win over Bowdoin in the five-set victory on Jan. 26, knocked off the Polar Bears’ Matthew Cooper (11-6, 7-11, 13-11, 11-9) to put the Colonials back in contention at 4-3.

Just a few moments later, fellow rookie – No. 1 Andres de Frutos – salvaged a rough first set to clinch his match (8-11, 11-5, 11-2, 11-3 ) and a berth for his team in the semifinals.

The celebration would end there, though.

Coincidentally, Valderrama and de Frutos also accounted for the Colonials two wins against Middlebury, but it wouldn’t be enough for a trip to the finals. De Frutos won in four sets (11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11) while Valderrama surged back after trailing by two sets to take the win in the fifth and final set (7-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5, 13-11).

In the consolation match, sophomores James Reiss and Reid Breck grabbed their second wins of the weekend against Wesleyan’s Nos. 3 and 4. Reiss defeated his opponent in four sets (11-8, 11-5, 13-15 11-5) while Breck won in straight sets (11-1, 11-5, 11-9). Freshman Josh Marks earned a victory at No. 5 (8-11, 11-3, 5-11, 11-6, 11-8).

Though team competition is over, individuals will go on to compete in the CSA Individual Nationals from February 28-March 2 at Princeton University. The Colonials will wait the official draw, which is scheduled to be released later this month.

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