NEW YORK - The Columbia men's squash team is set to begin its third season of varsity competition this weekend with a pair of home matches. The Lions will host No. 30 Georgetown and No. 4 Cornell, Friday and Sunday, respectively. Friday's season-opener is set for an 8 p.m. start, while Sunday's Ivy League contest will begin at 11 a.m.
All Columbia home matches will be held at the SL Green StreetSquash Center in Harlem on 115th Street between 5th Ave. and Lenox. To find directions to StreetSquash, please click HERE.
The Lions are getting a late jump to the season, as Georgetown has five matches under its belt, while Cornell has played four. Despite not having played a single match this season, Columbia moved up one spot to No. 9 following the release of the first regular-season poll by the College Squash Association due to Penn's loss to George Washington.
Columbia has defeated Georgetown in each of the last two seasons. The Lions edged the Hoyas, 5-4, back on Nov. 20, 2010 for the program's first victory in this new era and then posted a more commanding 8-1 win last season. Cornell defeated Columbia, 8-1, last season and holds a 5-1 advantage in the all-time series.
Ramit Tandon returns for his second season at Columbia after finishing as the runner-up at the CSA Individual National Championships last season. Tony Zou and Andrew Tan will provide the leadership for the 2012-13 campaign as team captains.
The Hoyas have had a busy November, competing five times this month. Georgetown carries a 2-3 record into Friday's contest against the Lions. In a battle of Washington, D.C. squash foes, George Washington knocked off Georgetown in the season-opener for both squads on Nov. 2. The Hoyas bounced back, notching wins over Denison and Kenyon before being blanked by Navy. In the closest match of the season for Georgetown, Hobart was able to escape with a 5-4 edge over the Hoyas on Nov. 11.
The Hoyas have had consistent success from the middle of its line-up this season, as Nos. 3-6 are all tied with a team-best three wins this season. James Calello (No. 3), James Yacobucci (No. 4), Nathaniel Reilly (No. 5) and Austen Dixon (No. 6) have provided early positive results for Georgetown.
The Big Red will be the visiting team for the time this season when it travels to New York for Sunday's matchup against Columbia. Cornell opened the season with four consecutive wins at its season-opening tournament, the Cornell Round Robin, Nov. 16-18. No. 11 Western Ontario, No. 21 Hamilton, No. 12 Williams and No. 25 Stanford all fell to the Big Red.
Cornell has a quartet of players that enter Sunday's match with 4-0 marks. Aditiya Jagtap (No. 1-2), Ryan Todd (No. 4-5), Mark Abhijit (No. 5-6) and Graham Dietz (No. 6-7) each remain unbeaten heading into the first Ivy League match of the season.