Dec. 4, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The 15th-ranked Navy squash team will put its unbeaten record on the line this week when it plays host to No. 14 Penn on Thursday at 6:00 pm and No. 10 Dartmouth on Friday at 12:00 pm. Both matches will be played at the Halsey Field House International Squash Courts and admission is free.
The Mids 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.
Junior Jim Kacergis (Malvern, Pa.) and sophomore Mitch Bottini (New Hamburg, N.Y.) are the lone players who not only have played in all nine matches, but have won all nine. Kacergis plays the No. 2 position on the ladder and is just one win shy of scoring his 50th collegiate victory. Meanwhile, Bottini has found his home at the No. 4 spot, up from No. 9 a year ago, and stands 36-6 over his two seasons in Annapolis.
Team captain Hunter Beck (Lafayette Hill, Pa.), junior John Hsu (Jackson Heights, N.Y.), sophomore Bill Kacergis (Malvern, Pa.) and freshman Reed Whitney (Ladue, Mo.) have just one blemish on their record this season. Hsu, Kacergis and Whitney are 8-1, while Beck stands 7-1 this season.
“We have had three close matches and everyone has won for us in at least one of the matches,” said head coach Craig Dawson, who is in his 13th season at Navy. “Now we need to play a match where we hit on all cylinders.”
Penn leads the series against the Mids 44-27 and holds a 17-16 advantage in matches played in Annapolis. The Quakers have won 13 in a row against Navy. The Mids’ last victory in the series was on Jan. 17, 2001, when they scored a 6-3 win at Penn. Navy’s last win over Penn in Annapolis was on Jan. 19, 2000, when it secured a 5-4 victory during the regular season.
The winner of Friday’s Navy-Dartmouth match will take the series lead, as the two teams have split the previous 40 meetings. The Big Green, however, has been the dominant team in recent memory, having won 15 straight against the Mids. Navy’s last victory (8-1) in the series was at the NISRA Championship at Princeton on Feb. 25, 1995. Seventeen of the 40 meetings have been played on neutral ground. Navy, meanwhile, is seeking its first win at home against the Big Green as Dartmouth has won all seven matches played in Annapolis.
Friday’s match against Dartmouth will be Navy’s last match before the holiday break. The Mids will be back on the court Jan. 8 when they play host to defending National Champion Trinity.
### Go Navy ###