Jan. 7, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The 9-2 Navy squash team will face its biggest challenge of the season when it welcomes No. 1-ranked Trinity to the Halsey Field House International Squash Courts on Wednesday for a 5:30 pm match.
“Playing the No.1-ranked team in college squash is a good way for our team to measure our level of play,” said Craig Dawson, who is in his 13th season as the Mids’ head coach. “Trinity will show us a faster pace game and a wider variety of shot selections. Our goal is to play one game at a time and work our way into the match. With a good crowd we may be able to pull off some surprises.”
The 14th-ranked Midshipmen are off to a strong start, putting together a flawless 9-0 record that includes wins over top-20 programs Brown and Wesleyan. Navy was challenged early in the year when 21st-ranked Drexel came to town and pushed the Mids to what would be a 5-4 victory for Navy. The Mids went on to win four in a row by 9-0 counts before posting back-to-back wins over No. 16 Brown and No. 18 Wesleyan two weeks ago. Navy evened the overall series with the Bears at 8-8 after dealing them a 5-4 loss, while improving to 26-1 over Wesleyan thanks to a 7-2 victory. The Mids dropped back-to-back matches against No. 14 Penn (6-3) and No. 10 Dartmouth (5-4) prior to the holiday break.
Junior Andrew McGuinness (Merion Station, Pa.) stands No. 1 on Navy’s ladder, producing a 9-2 record and having won three straight matches. Among those wins were five-game decisions over Penn’s Tyler Odell and Dartmouth’s Alexander Greer. Meanwhile, classmate Jim Kacergis (Malvern, Pa.) is one of two players on the Navy roster who have yet to drop a match this season at 11-0. Kacergis is Navy’s No. 2 player, and like McGuinness, he won hard-fought battles against Penn’s Rahil Fazelbhoy of Penn and Nicholas Harrington of Dartmouth in four games.
Sophomore Mitch Bottini (New Hamburg, N.Y.) is Navy’s No. 4 player and he, too, boasts an 11-0 record. During his two seasons at Navy, he has amassed a 38-6 record after pacing the Mids with a 27-6 record as a freshman. Junior John Hsu (Jackson Heights, N.Y.) has come on to be a regular in the lineup this season, maintaining a 9-2 record primarily playing the No. 8 spot. He has lost just three matches during his career.
Trinity, guided by 20th-year head coach Paul Assaiante, is coming off a 2012-13 season that saw the Bantams post a flawless 19-0 record, capture their 14th CSA National Championship crown (Potter Trophy) in the last 15 years. The Bantams stand 2-0 on the year, earning 9-0 wins over No. 12 Bates and No. 21 Bowdoin in late November. They will open the second half of the season on Tuesday when they play the first of three matches over three days with an afternoon date at George Washington before coming to Annapolis to face Navy in Wednesday. They will go move on to Philly to face Drexel on Thursday.
Trinity owns a 31-10 series lead over the Mids, including a 22-3 mark in matches played in Annapolis. The Bantams have won six in a row against Navy in a series that last saw the two programs meet on Nov. 19, 2006 in Connecticut. Trinity won that match, 9-0. The last time the two teams faced one another in Annapolis was Jan. 25, 2004, in a match the Bantams claimed, 8-1. The last time Navy defeated Trinity was on Jan. 31, 1992, by a 6-3 count at Yale.
While the Mids have nine remaining matches before the College Squash Association Team Championship in mid-February, this is the second-to-last home match on the schedule. Navy’s home finale is slated for next Wednesday, Jan. 15 against George Washington.
### Go Navy ###