Season Preview: Amherst Looks to Climb National Rankings in 2007-08

The 2006-07 Amherst College men's squash team posted a record of 10-9 to finish the season ranked 11th in the nation. Two of the Jeffs' losses came to top-ranked Trinity College, with fifth-ranked Penn and eighth-ranked Dartmouth also accounting for Amherst losses. The Jeffs dropped close matches to some very good teams, including 5-4 losses to ninth-ranked Cornell and 10th-ranked Navy, as well as 6-3 losses to 12th-ranked Bates and 14th-ranked Brown. Amherst avenged its loss to Bates by defeating the Bobcats twice in the closing weeks of the season, and also upset Cornell early in the year.

Amherst loses co-captains Peter Hatfield and Auloke Mathur to graduation. Mathur split time in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots while being ranked in the top 60 in the nation,with Hatfield playing as high as No. 3 and as low as No. 6. The Jeffs also lose their No. 4 player in Stu Landesberg, as well as Craig McCready, who rotated in the eighth and ninth spots for Amherst.

Returning as senior co-captains are Mark Rapisarda and Andrew Slutsky, who spent most of last season playing in the No. 3 and No. 7 holes, respectively. The members of the class of 2009 returning to the court are Ben Bishop, Drew Blacker, Brad Corbin, Jerome Giovinazzo and Brian Warner. Blacker will be a leader on the court, as he spent most of his sophomore season as the Jeffs' No. 1 player, with some matches played in the No. 2 slot. Bishop and Giovinazzo also saw significant time as sophomores, playing mostly in the No. 5 and No. 9 spots, respectively, with Giovinazzo moving up to as high as the No. 5 hole, while Brad Corbin and Brian Warner will look to see more action as juniors. Blacker and Rapisarda were each nationally ranked in the top 75 last season.

Also looking to see an increase in playing time will be sophomores Cornelius Banta, Nick Kramer and Saahil Sud. Andrew Kriete played in Amherst's first five matches as the No. 6 player before departing from the team for the second semester, but returns for his sophomore season.

The Jeffs welcome four first-years, a junior and a senior to the team. Kevin Cecala, Marcelo Cifuentes, Jacob Glass and Tom Rapisarda will hope to contribute in their rookie seasons at Amherst, while junior David Glanton and senior Doug Barnett will hope to add depth to this year's squad.

2007-08 SCHEDULE
In addition to facing the usual national powerhouses like Trinity and Penn, the Jeffs will travel to Vassar College to take on Columbia and Vassar, which were ranked 35th and 38th in the nation in the final 2006-07 rankings. Amherst's most difficult stretch will once again come when the Jeffs play Dartmouth, Penn and Brown in a span of one week. The 2007-08 season kicks off Wednesday, Nov. 28 with a trip to Northeastern University, which finished last season ranked 23rd.