Date Posted:01/30/2002, 8:00AM
BRUNSWICK, Maine - On Tuesday night, Bowdoin?s Lubin Squash Center was again the stage of a scintillating down-to-the-wire squash contest, which equaled the thrills of last Sunday?s exciting 5-4 victory by the women?s team over Tufts. This time, it was the men?s turn to entertain a large and boisterous crowd, and add a few years to the coaching staff. Traditional rival Bates College (#16 in the country) provided the opposition for the 14th ranked Polar Bears.
The anticipated match, the first of a home-and- home series to be completed next week at Bates College, began with #2 player Greg Clement ?04, #4 Tom Costin ?02, #6 Eric Toan ?05, and #8 Geordie MacLeod ?05 taking the courts for Bowdoin. Forty- five minutes into the competition, the Polar Bears had a 2-1 lead thanks to strong 3-0 victories by Toan and Clement. Clement, who won 9-4, 9-2, 9-0, was dominant throughout, and in particular after taking a hit in the mouth from the Bates player. Toan outlasted his opponent 9-7, 9-7, 9-4, continuing to play very well in his first season, as his 8-4 personal record indicates. MacLeod, who has made a habit of coming back from 0-2 to win important matches in also his first season, failed to do so this time, falling 9-5, 9-4, 6-9, 9-1. Costin?s match was in its third game, with the Bowdoin Co-Captain leading 2-1, when #1 Lawrence Delasotta ?04, #5 Co-Captain Drew Holman ?02, #7 Grant White ?04, and #9 Matt Nowak ?04 started their matches. With Nowak on its way to a 9-4, 9- 0, 9-1 defeat, tying the contest for Bates at 2-2, it was clear that Costin?s match would provide a critical point for one of the squads. His Bates opponent, who earlier in the match had looked completely overwhelmed, raised the level of his play to win a fiercely contested fourth game and force a deciding fifth. Both players were playing extremely well, retrieving ?impossible? shots, and hitting winners in the clutch. Both were leaving it all in the court, clearly energized by the loud and excited crowd. The fifth game was long and exhausting, and to the delight of the Bowdoin gallery, it turned late in favor of Costin (whose main concern at the end of the match was to avoid losing his lunch in front of everyone). Final score: 9-3, 7-9, 9-2, 8-10, 9-7 for the Bowdoin #4 and a temporary 3-2 lead in the overall match. Minutes later, Grant White was finishing his own outstanding performance in which he upset Bates #7 Matt Wu 7-9, 9-7, 9-7, 9-4. Wu, a very talented player who was away during the fall semester, last year played #4 for Bates and thrice defeated Bowdoin?s current #1. White?s clutch triumph is yet another indication of his surging level of play and his value to the team. It also provided the Polar Bears with their fourth match victory. One more to go!
With the final three matches on court, things looked good for the Polar Bears, especially when considering Bowdoin?s strength at the #3 position, where Jon Crowell ?05 has shined in his first year. Unfortunately, it was obvious early on that this was not Crowell?s day, as he was on his way to a 9- 5, 9-7, 9-7 defeat to Bates? Eric Lopez. Drew Holman?s match at #5 did not start well either, with Bates Ethan Kerr taking the first two 9-4, 9- 5, but Holman found the strength to fight back and win the next two 9-4, 9-1. Somehow, an apparently tired Kerr was able to turn the tide in his favor, and with excellent shooting took the fifth game 9- 2. The match was tied at 4 wins per squad and, just as it should be, it was all up to the number one players, Bowdoin?s Lawrence Delasotta and Bates? Ben Shippers.
At the time the Holman and Crowell matches were ending, the #1 match was nearing the end of its fourth set. The contest was as even as a contest can be, with no player ever having a decisive lead in any game. The score at that point was 2-1 (8-9, 10-9, 9-8 in three tie-breakers) for Bates? Shippers who was looking to put Delasotta away. For a few anxious moments it appeared that Bates would indeed achieve the ?away? victory, as Schippers pushed Delasotta to the brink with three match points. ?Dela,? though, mustered clutch point after clutch point and managed to survive the fourth, 10-9. Bowdoin had survived the scare and now everyone settled at center court to anxiously await the outcome of the day?s battle. As the fifth set began, Bowdoin Athletic Director Jeff Ward commented in enjoyment ?this has been worth the price of admission,? which of course would have been completely true had there been a price of admission. Delasotta teased the Bowdoin fans with one and two point leads, and with the appearance that he could pull away from Schippers. But neither of these two warriors would allow to be left behind, and the final set was destined for yet another tiebreaker. It had been 90 minutes of uninterrupted lounging, stretching, running, swinging, twisting, and fighting. Neither player was either sharp or strong by the end of this match, yet both were surely assisted by their screaming teammates. Delasotta was the first to have a match point in the fifth, but Schippers saved it with a hard low winner. Then it was Shippers with the chance to end it all, but after a very long rally Delasotta got a shot to ?die? in the backcourt. And then, finally, Delasotta forced Shippers to an error that sealed the nerve-racking victory for the Polar Bears. The crowd exploded in delight and the Bowdoin team raced to the court to embrace their triumphant teammate. Now, on to the rematch at Bates next week!
In exhibition matches, at positions 10 to 14 respectively, George Hubbard ?03, Mike Fensterstock ?04, Peter Carter ?04, Tyler Steffey ?04, and Fred Warburg ?04 all won decisively for Bowdoin, highlighting the depth of the team.
Women Squash Team Defeated 7-2 by Bates< /p>
With the start of their match delayed one hour by the men?s prolonged match, the #20th ranked women Polar Bears took on the #11th ranked Bates Bobcats. While the Bowdoin team has continued to improve and has played well in the clutch, the Bobcats presented slightly too difficult a challenge. While several players played well, outstanding performances were needed to have a chance to upset Bates. Bowdoin?s strength at the top of the lineup did provide now customary victories from Katie Irving ?04 and Whitney Hodgkins ?03, who won for the home team at #2 and #3, respectively. Irving used her powerful shots and excellent length to win 9-10, 9-5, 9-1, 9-5 and improve her personal record to 7-2. Hodgkins, on the other hand, displayed incredible touch and deception in winning 9-3, 9-5, 9-2, raising her seasonal stats to 6-1.
Bowdoin vs. Dartmouth
This Saturday, February the 2nd, Bowdoin hosts Dartmouth in the last home match of the season. The women Polar Bears begin play at 10:00 a.m. and the men follow at 12:30 p.m. Hope you can make it!