AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst Squash program managed a split decision in day one of the Pioneer Valley Invitational as women's squash posted a decisive 8-1 victory over St. Lawrence University while men's squash fell to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by a score of 7-2 on Friday evening at Davenport Squash Courts
The Amherst women's squash team secured their fourth victory of the season in a demanding 8-1 victory over the St. Lawrence Saints. The Mammoths swept the first three sets in six out of the nine matches.
Lilly Soroko '22 and Riddhi Sampat '21 posted the most impressive finishes on the day as Sampat limited her opponent, Starnisha Ramsey, to less than two points in each set (11-1, 11-1, 11-2). Soroko followed Sampat and limited Alexandra Infante to under four points, snagging the 11-3, 11-4, 11-1 victory.
At number five and six, Keeley Osborn '22 (11-5, 11-4, 11-1) and Pierson Klein '20 (11-5, 11-7, 11-1) faced Gabrielle Ahrens and Katherine Leiva where they also dominated the first sets for another win for Amherst side.
Priya Sinha '19 matched up against Abigail Smith at the eight spot, falling behind early when Smith stole an 11-9 win in the first set. Sinha pushed forward with 11-5, 11-4, 11-3 wins to take down the Saints foe. Rachael Ang '19 also fell behind early when Kelley Makyla took the first set 11-5. However, Ang battled in the second to even the score with an 11-5 triumph. Ang dominated the third (11-3) and carried the momentum to win the final set 11-7.
St. Lawrence was able to grab one victory on the day when Sanna Koivumaki took on Caroline Conway '20 at number one. After a 1-0 deficit, Conway came back to beat Koivumaki in the second by a narrow 11-9 margin. However, Koivumaki was determined as she posted decisive 11-2 and 11-4 score line's to grab the Saints sole win on the day.
The women's squash team breaks even again, moving to 4-4 on the season and will take on Hamilton College in day two action at 2:00 PM tomorrow.
The Amherst men's squash team put up a strong effort in their defeat to the Engineers, forcing nearly half of the matches into a fifth set. Harith Khawaja '19 notched his fourth victory on the season as he took down Vedaant Kukadia at number four by a score of 11-5, 5-11, 11-7, and 11-8. David Merkel '19 grabbed another victory for the Mammoths when he swept Brad Levin at number seven (11-5, 11-5, 11-9) for his sixth overall victory on the 2018-19 campaign.
Charlie Sutherby '22 clashed in five sets against Joe O'Conner at number two. Sutherby looked promising early on as he grabbed an 11-8 and 11-6 victory in the first two sets. However, O'Conner answered with a four point win in the third and an 11-8 triumph in the fourth to bring things back to even. In the final set, the two sides went back and forth before O'Conner was able to edge Sutherby by an 11-9 margin.
Christopher Zimmerman '20 and Reginald Brewster '21 also took their opponents (Robert Williamson, Neel Das) the full length as they each forced a fifth set through their relentless attack. Zimmerman stole the first set (12-10) before losing the second and third 11-6, 12-10. In the face of defeat, Zimmerman battled back to snag an 11-6 feat in the fourth but ultimately lost 11-9 in the fifth. Brewster managed an 11-4 and 11-9 victory in the second and third sets; however, Das was persistent and took the match for the Saints side (11-7, 4-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6).
With the loss, men's squash moves to 3-5 on the season and will set their sights on day two when they go up against Hamilton College at 2:00 PM.