NEW YORK – A total of four matches in three days awaits the No. 11 Columbia men's squash team (2-2), as the Lions travel to Amherst, Mass. to compete in the Pioneer Valley Invitational before hosting a home match to cap the weekend. On Friday, Jan. 17, Columbia will take on No. 16 Wesleyan at 1 p.m. and No. 22 Amherst at 3 p.m. On Saturday, Jan. 18, the Lions will take on a tall order in No. 6 Franklin & Marshall at 9 a.m.
In its first home match in two months, Columbia will return to SL Green StreetSquash Center on Sunday, Jan. 19 as they host No. 18 Williams to wrap-up the non-conference slate.
To find directions to StreetSquash, please click HERE.
Columbia coming off a Ivy League split weekend where after falling No. 3 Yale on Saturday, Jan. 11, the Lions bounced back to deliver a dominating performance at No. 16 Brown on Sunday, Jan. 12 to post its second 9-0 shutout victory of the season and its first win in conference play.
The Cardinals will enter the Pioneer Valley Invitational ranked 16th in the latest Dunlop rankings with an overall record of 8-1. Wesleyan’s John Steele is one of the team’s leaders and boasts a 6-1 record this season at the No. 1 position. Steele finished the 2012-13 season ranked No. 40 in the Dunlop College Squash Individual rankings. The Cardinals will face Columbia for the first time since 2011 and hold a slight edge on the overall series 2-1.
The Jeffs are ranked 22nd in the latest Dunlop rankings with a 1-2 overall record. Returning sophomore Noah Browne finished No. 56 in the 2012-13 the Dunlop College Squash Individual rankings and is currently undefeated at the No. 1 postion for the 2013-14 season, including a thrilling 3-2 victory over Yale’s Kah Wah Cheong. Saturday’s contest will mark the first ever meeting between the Lions and the Jeffs.
ABOUT FRANKLIN & MARSHALL
At 3-2, the Diplomats are currently ranked sixth in the nation having played a tough schedule, including No. 1 Trinity and No. 3 Yale. Franklin & Marshall return only two of five players ranked in the 2012-13 Dunlop final individual rankings, senior No. 21 Mauricio Sedano and junior No. 62 Alex Arjoon. Sedano is currently 0-2 for the season, but Arjoon has performed well with a 4-1 record so far.
At No. 18, Williams is well into the season with a 6-9 overall record. The Ephs come into the 2013-14 season very young with only two seniors. Williams snapped a three game losing streak last weekend with a win over Connecticut College. Williams will face Middlebury before meeting Columbia on Sunday. The Lions will face the Ephs for the fifth time in program history with Williams leading the all-time series, 3-1.
COLUMBIA’S MOHAMED ABDELMAKSOUD Q&A
At Cornell you played one of your longest matches ever to comeback and defeat Bryan Keating, take me through that…
“It was one of the longest matches of my life as you said. I was injured since GW, and didnt play for almost two weeks. I used to go to the trainer (Peter) everyday to get fit as soon as I can. I went on court in the first round of matches, and I was in pain. I lost the first game. Then I decided to forget about the injury and try to play smart. I lost the second 20-18, which is the highest score I have ever reached in my life. I remembered when I talked to Brent before the match, and I tried to actually listen to him, and it helped to a lot. Coming back from 2-0 down, and an injury was a challenge and above all a responsibility towards my team. I knew if I win this one, it will be a huge motivation to the team. Specially after I have seen all the teammates’ faces after losing the second game that describe nothing but consider me lost. So, in the third game, I convinced myself that I am not tired, even though I was so tired. I focused on a single point by point. I never thought how long much I need to do, or how long I need to go through to pull that win. I took it gradually and step by step. After winning the third, I had little bit of confidence. I went more focus the fourth. i knew if I get this one, he will be very nervous in the fifth. I ignored my injury and I actually removed the patch of my back before the 4th game. I believed I was fine. I went on fitter, and stronger than I actually expected. I saw the teammates’ faces after winning the third started to feel little hope and more people came to support me. The fifth was a very strategic game. I knew he is under pressure, and I am coming back strongly enough to break him down. I made sure to not give any easy points, and not to make any mistake, and it worked. The three games I won where all very closed. However, the responsibility towards my team kept me going and going. I have learnt a lot on a personal scale form that match. I have learnt how to fight under pressure. How to handle the pressure, and transform it to confidence is what I learnt the most. I believed I am mentally much more stronger than I expected.”