In the past two days, the men's squash team has gone 1-1 against its two in-state NESCAC competitors, losing to Bates 7-2 on Wednesday before beating Colby in a competitive 5-4 battle last night.

Previously, the squad surprised Wesleyan in a 5-4 upset at home last Wednesday, with wins from Stephan Danyluk '14, captain Barrett Takesian '13, Andrew Sprague '12, Max Bearse '15, and Reid Wilson '14. Wilson won the deciding match with a come-from-behind 3-1 victory.

"We needed that match, and he showed great mental toughness," Takesian said.

The team was able to capitalize on its physical fitness, a key strength of the Bowdoin squad.

"We graduated a couple of very good players, so just in sheer talent we took a step back," coach Tomas Fortson said. "We don't have as many players as we normally have, but they work really hard and their bodies are pushed to the limit."

Both the men's and women's squash teams have unconventional rosters this season. The women have struggled with an unusually young team—first years comprise half of the top nine spots. The men's team is hampered by a dearth of players, with only 11 athletes on the roster in a sport in which nine compete in each match.

"With 11 people, we can't afford injuries," Takesian said. "Being able to balance how hard we can push as a team while making sure that we don't experience a crippling injury has been the challenge so far."

The first half of the season has resulted in a 5-7 record for the women's team and 6-9 for the men's. "This is when our season really starts to come together," Takesian said of the upcoming weeks. "And this is typically when we start surprising the league."

The victory over Wesleyan came at a welcome time for the team, which had endured strenuous two-a-day practices for three weeks over the break and acquired the "ability to play through pain," Takesian said.

"That's what you need to win squash matches," he said. "It's a marathon."

The women's team defeated Wesleyan last Thursday in a resounding 8-1 victory, demonstrating just how much the young team has matured this season. In November, the women fought for a close 5-4 victory over the Cardinals.

"We had a lot of matches over January to learn how to play close matches and come out on the winning side," women's captain Bonnie Cao '13 said. "I think we definitely learned how to do that."

Earlier in the season, Fortson emphasized physical improvement and technique. With four weeks left before nationals, he now plans to focus more heavily on developing the young team's mental focus and strategic thinking.

"Our weakness is our inexperience," Fortson said. "Fortunately we have a lot of competition left to go before nationals."

This weekend, Bowdoin hosts 10 visiting teams at the Maine Event. The men will have a rematch against George Washington, which they fell to 8-1 earlier in the season at the Trinity Round Robin. The men's team defeated GW last year at nationals.

"Hopefully we will have some good upsets this coming weekend," Takesian said.