While the Boston University men’s hockey and basketball teams gear up for their respective playoff runs, another team on campus is already celebrating a national championship win.
The Boston University men’s squash team won the 2020 National Collegiate Championships in the Serues Cup division in a Cinderella-esque run. The tournament was held at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tufts University from Feb. 28 to Mar. 1.
The sixth-seeded Terriers took down No. 3 Stanford, No. 2 Georgetown and No. 1 Bucknell en route to their first National Division Championship since 2012.
“The feeling is amazing,” senior squash player Julian Lee said. “We embrace the achievement, but we are going to continue to work hard to be better.”
Squash is a sport played in a box-like room, where opposing players use rackets to hit a rubber ball off the back wall. Points are scored whenever the opponent fails to return the ball. Scoring results from the ball bouncing twice before the other players hits the ball, the ball landing outside the boundaries or a player interfering with their opponent’s return.
The first player to 11 points wins the set, and with a best-of-five sets format, the first to win three sets wins the match. With nine players on a team, each of the nine squares off with an opposing player individually, and the winners of each individual match earn a point for their team.
For example, if seven BU players win their respective match, compared to just two players from Stanford, then BU wins 7-2, and that is exactly what happened in the first round. Lee, Hunter
Chun, Frederick Haab, Matthew Wallace, DJ Reed, Jason Gao, BK Kim and Ryley Thompson won their respective matches to give BU a convincing upset victory in the first round. Of the seven match winners for BU, five won in straight sets, which allowed much of the team to conserve much-needed energy to take down the top two seeds in the following rounds.
Against No. 2 Georgetown, BU took a 6-3 victory with contributions from Chun, Haab, Wallace, Reed, Gao and Stefano Viacava. 21 of the 39 sets played were decided by three points or fewer, so if a few flipped the other way, it could have been Georgetown moving on to the finals.
The finals were even more contentious, but BU managed to edge top-seeded Bucknell 5-4. The individual match-ups were more cut-and-dry, as five match-ups ended in 3-0 sweeps, but it was split down the middle, as BU had three sweeps to Bucknell’s two. From there Chun and Viacava each won crucial 3-2 match-ups; had either lost, Bucknell would have walked away winners.
With the close victory, BU capped an impressive run over the top three seeds. Highlighting the Terrier effort on the weekend were Chun, Reed and Gao, who won their matches in all three rounds by a combined score of 27-5.
“The final round against Bucknell was stressful and nerve-wracking,” Lee said. “Quite an upset and Cinderella story. [I’m] very proud of the team achieving this accomplishment.”
Featured Image: Boston University Men’s Club Squash