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Virginia men’s squash clinches MASC title while women fall just short

Both squads played a busy slate of matches over the weekend in Lancaster, Pa.

<p>Despite falling short in the final game of the MASC Championships, the women's squash team has maintained a strong overall record this season.&nbsp;</p>

Despite falling short in the final game of the MASC Championships, the women's squash team has maintained a strong overall record this season. 

Coming off of a slew of recent victories in the form of a four-game winning streak, the Virginia men’s squash team geared up for a challenging MASC tournament. The tournament, which began last Friday with pool play concluded on Sunday with a championship final. 

Similarly, the women’s squash team has been equally dominant this season, boasting an undefeated 6-0 home record. Also having won four of their last five matches, the Cavaliers went into the MASC Championships as a highly-regarded squad. 

Men’s 

The No. 9 Cavalier men (12-5) went 3-0 on the weekend en route to their third consecutive MASC title.

Virginia’s weekend started Friday with a rematch of their final regular season match from the previous week against No. 22 Dickinson. Yet again, the Cavaliers dominated the Red Devils (4-11). All nine Cavaliers managed to put away their opponents in straight sets as Virginia earned the 9-0 sweep.

Next up for the Cavaliers was No. 15 MIT on Saturday. For the second time this season, Virginia made easy work of MIT (8-7), this time winning by a score of 8-1.

The win sent Virginia to the MASC title game where they would take on No. 8 Drexel. The Dragons (9-5) had the Cavaliers number in the past as they were the only MASC team to beat the Cavaliers this season. Additionally, Drexel held an all-time 5-0 record over Virginia entering Sunday.

Despite the narrative, Virginia flipped the script in the MASC championship game. In a dramatic back-and-forth match, the Cavaliers battled back from down 4-2, winning the match’s final three games to earn a 5-4 win and clinch the conference championship.

“It was a huge win for the guys today, and a win that not only gives us our third consecutive MASC championship, but also the victory we needed to hopefully secure a berth in the Potter Cup for CSA Nationals in two weeks’ time,” Coach Mark Allen said. “To win against a top-eight team you must be competitive in every position on the roster and today we were, from one all the way through to nine.”

With their title, Virginia remains the only team to have won a MASC championship and continues their perfect record in MASC championship matches.

Women’s

Despite missing out on a MASC title of their own, the No. 7 Cavalier women (13-4) finished off their successful season with a 3-1 record in the round robin-style conference championships.

The Virginia women’s weekend began with a double-header on Saturday against Georgetown and Dickinson.

The Cavaliers had no trouble against either the Hoyas (7-11) or the Red Devils (4-13), sweeping both matches 9-0. All nine Virginia players won their matches in straight sets in both of the day’s matches.

Virginia’s weekend continued Sunday with another double-header against Franklin & Marshall (9-7) and No. 6 Drexel (12-3).

The day got off to a good start for the Cavaliers, as they took care of Franklin & Marshall by a score of 9-0. For the third-straight game to begin their tournament, Virginia won every game in straight sets.

With the MASC championship at stake, both Virginia and Drexel entered the tournament’s final game with undefeated 3-0 records. In a hard-fought match, freshman Maureen Foley gave the Cavaliers an early 1-0 lead. 

Despite the early Virginia lead, the Dragons wouldn’t be denied, quickly turning the tide with three straight wins. With the score at 4-3 in favor of Drexel, senior Alina Bushma clinched the win for the Dragons 5-11, 4-11, 10-12.

“Just as they have done all season long, the women fought so hard and were very, very close to coming away as champions today,” Coach Mark Allen said. “Credit to Drexel, they are a strong team and deserved the win. Without doubt this has been the strongest women’s squash team U.Va. has ever fielded and I’m looking forward to seeing them compete for an end of season top-eight ranking.”

The Virginia men and women now turn their attention to the CSA Team Championships. The men’s tournament begins Feb. 18 in Philadelphia, Pa., while the women’s tournament gets underway Feb. 25 in Boston, Mass.

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