West Lafayette, IN — The 2009 Fall Purdue Invitational was held September 26th. The event featured Illinois, Notre Dame, and of course Purdue. As a Purdue graduate and the Notre Dame coach, I especially enjoyed the trip to West Lafayette.
The 26th was the same day as the Notre Dame – Purdue football game. So as the team traveled across campus to reach the courts we were greeted with a mix of both Purdue and Notre Dame fans lining the streets. The coincidental timing was perfect for setting the stage before the match. It was easy to pretend that all the pageantry and fanfare was for each school’s squash team and the upcoming match.
Unfortunately, Notre Dame was only able to bring 6 players, so we began the first match with Illinois down 0-3. Of those Fighting Irish players who made the trip, only three had prior competitive experience, and this proved to be a factor early on.
Some of our players were visibly nervous, and had trouble concentrating during their matches. The Illini team was focused, energized and ready to play. They had little trouble in the first match of the day, knocking us off 9-0.
Following the Illinois match, we took on the host team, Purdue. Again we had to spot their opponent 3 matches to start the match, but we were hopeful the experience gained in the morning match would translate into a better outcome in the second round. Our number four, Thomas Dore, and number five, Matt Sushinsky, were the bright spots for our team. Both players were able to improve their play from one match to the next. Each player held a lead midway through their third games. Unfortunately, the Boilermakers proved to much for Dore and Sushinsky. Purdue ended up winning the match 9-0.
It was a great opportunity for our young and inexperienced team to get the “first one” under our belt. With the mental challenges of our first CSA match behind us, our team is ready to take the next step toward greater success.
In the other match of the day, Purdue defeated Illinois.
The Midwest squash scene’s next big tournament is November 14th and 15th at Northwestern. Purdue, Western Michigan (a new squad), and Notre Dame will join host Northwestern.