With their hopes high after strong seasons that saw the men’s team take home a third-place finish at the CSA Summers Cup, and the women place fifth place at the CSA Kurtz Cup, both of Amherst’s squash teams opened their 2022-23 campaigns this past weekend. While the men gritted out a hard-fought win over the Hobart Statesmen, 5-4, the women’s team was unable to do the same, falling 5-4 to the William Smith Herons in a tightly contested bout.
In their home opener, the men’s team took to the court with a lot to prove. And prove themselves they did, taking down the No. 24 Statesmen by the narrowest of margins.
While much of the top of Amherst ladder struggled, with three of the team’s top four players dropping their first matches of the season, the bottom portion excelled. Every player at the seventh through ninth slots won their matches by 3-0 scorelines, and they combined with a victory from Abhi Gupta ’25 at the fifth spot to clinch the win. At the seven, first-year Grady Herbert ’26 won his first collegiate match in style, taking down his opponent in commanding fashion, 11-3, 11-6, 11-3; one spot down on the ladder, senior Andrew Leung ’23 did the same, taking his match 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 at the eighth spot. At the final spot was the fourth Mammoth of the day to take home a straight-game victory, as first-year William Okurowski ’26 won his match by a 11-3, 11-4, 11-7 score.
In the final matches of the day, and the Mammoths down 3-2, the contest came down to the wire. Despite the Statesmen having taken every match at the top of the ladder thus far, No. 3 man Neal Malani ’24 took matters into his own hands, winning his junior debut in three straight games by a score of 11-4, 11-8, 11-9. At almost the same time, Gupta took his match by a narrow 3-2 margin, 10-12, 5-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-9 to seal the Mammoths’ victory.
They will return to the court with two away matches this week, first taking on Hamilton on Saturday, Dec. 3, before facing Trinity on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
Unlike their counterparts, the win just wasn’t to be for the women’s team this weekend, as the team fell to the Herons in a tight 5-4 contest. But unlike the men’s team, the top of the women’s ladder was where they found success in their first match of the year.
First-year Alex Brown ’26, Amherst’s No. 2, earned her first collegiate win 3-1, by a 13-11, 12-10, 5-11, 11-4 score. Juniors Callie Delalio ’24 and Maggie Pearson ’24 also took their first victories of the season against William Smith, with Delalio prevailing in a tight 3-2 match 11-7, 11-3, 5-11, 10-12, 11-7 at No. 3, while Pearson cruised to an utterly dominant win, taking a 3-0 (11-7, 11-7, 11-8) victory in just over 11 minutes at the sixth spot. Isabelle Tilney-Sandberg ’25 was the other Mammoth victor on Saturday, winning a hard-fought match 3-2 (8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-13, 11-9) at the No 5.
Like the men’s team, the Mammoths’ women’s squash team will travel to Hamilton on Saturday, Dec. 3, before getting back on the bus to Hartford to face Trinity on Tuesday, Dec. 6.