LANCASTER, Pa. – After last year's hiatus from the Potter Cup (A Division) at the Collegiate Squash Association (CSA) Team Championships - the program's first absence in five seasons from the prestigious bracket of the nation's top-eight teams - Franklin & Marshall's men's squash program looks to regain its status as one of the sport's top programs.
The season opens at home next Tuesday (Nov. 15) when the Diplomats welcome Drexel to town for their home opener at 5:45 p.m.
To watch a season preview video featuring sixth-year head coach Gavin Jones, click here.
Nine returners, including a five-member senior class, are welcomed back from a team that finished last season ranked No. 13 with a 9-10 overall record and a fifth-place showing in the Hoehn Cup (B Division).
Three freshmen join the mix to start the season and are expected to fight for posititons in the ladder. Shams Abbas (Cairo, Egypt) and Yannis Senkel (Essen, Germany) head to Lancaster with a plethora of experience after competing on the international stage and are both expected to fill out top-five positions in the lineup. King Bassett is another first-year player being welcomed into the mix and will look to battle for a spot in the order.
Just one senior was lost to graduation in Pedro Veiga de Almeida (No. 38 Nationally), who tied for the most wins on the team at 12-9 after competing at the No.'s 2-3 positions.
Cole Osborne – Sr.
Kareem Nabil Abdel Mawla – Sr.
Jackson McCord – Jr.
Silvio Soom – So.
Samm Fulton – So.
Osborne leads the way as a two-year captain and is locked in at the No. 1 spot on the ladder. Last season, Osborne finished as the highest-ranked Diplomat at No. 27 with a 12-10 overall record and a Semifinal appearance at the CSA Individual Championships.
Mawla saw action at the No.'s 5-7 spots with a 9-8 record, while McCord combined for five wins between No.'s 5-7. Soom (8-11 record between No.'s 3-4) and Fulton (7-11 record between No.'s 5-9) produced solid freshman campaigns and are expected to compete in the top-half of the lineup.
F&M enters the 2016-17 season with the No. 13 ranking in the country after receiving 29 votes in a poll of varsity coaches. Trinity College opens at No. 1, followed by Yale 9No. 2) and Rochester (No. 3).
The Road Ahead
Following the home opener against Drexel, F&M competes in four more matches before the end of the first semester. Key matchups on the schedule include meetings with Yale on Dec. 3 (No. 1 in 2015-16 final rankings), as well as home competitions against Trinity (No. 3) on Jan. 15 and Rochester (No. 2) on Feb. 11.
The CSA Team Championships will be hosted by Harvard and are set for Feb. 17-19, while Dartmouth will be the site of the CSA Individual Championships and will take place from March 3-5.
Follow Along (Social Media)
All of your favorite Diplomat athletic teams are available on social media. Follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to the Diplomats YouTube page for frequent highlight videos of games throughout the season.
All home contests are streamed, free of charge, which can be found here.