M. squash beats No. 14 Amherst 8-1

The men’s squash team continued its run at the national championship this weekend, picking up its third straight victory and its ninth win in its last 10 games.

In typical fashion, the men’s squash team overpowered yet another nationally ranked team Saturday, as No. 4 Yale (15-2, 4-1 Ivy) defeated No. 14 Amherst (6-9) 8-1.

Amherst captain Addison West chalked up the lone victory for the Lord Jeffs by winning a close five-game match against the Elis’ Chris Olsen ’03, (10-15, 15-6, 10-15, 15-13, 15-13).

Unfortunately for Amherst, the win was more of an aberration than an indication of things to come. Yale has crushed opponents all year long, and that trend continued when the Bulldog’s swept through the rest of Amherst’s lineup. In the final seven matches, the Elis did not lose a single game to the Jeffs.

Peter Grote ’02, Anshul Manchanda ’04, Aftab Mathur ’03, A.J. McCrery ’02, team captain Josh Barenbaum ’01, Brian Smith ’01, Alex Ende ’02 and Joe Cohen ’02 exhibited the depth and talent that has defined the 2001 season for Yale.

“[The] competition was not very strong,” Barenbaum said. “It might have been a bit tighter in other years, but we are so solid this year, average teams just can’t stand on one leg against us.”

The Elis suffered two tough losses earlier in the season, one to No. 1 Trinity 9-0, and the other to No. 2 Princeton 5-4. But when one considers that those two losses have accounted for more than half of the match-games that Yale has dropped all season, the Bulldog’s domination of its opponents becomes clear. According to head coach Dave Talbott, the Elis have amassed a 131-22 individual match record en route to their 15-2 record, and he is quite pleased with those statistics.

“A very strong year indeed,” Talbott said.

So strong that Amherst coach Peter Robson was neither surprised nor disappointed by the outcome.

“They were ranked quite a way ahead of us,” Robson said. “We didn’t expect to win.”

Robson reiterated what other coaches have cited as the chief reason for Yale’s success — its abundance of good players.

“We expected them to be pretty deep all the way through,” he said. “That’s the key to their success.”

Because of those sentiments, both teams spent an uneventful weekend going through the motions. Amherst quietly finished out its season, following Saturday’s loss to Yale with another defeat, this time at the hands of Princeton 9-0.

Yale used Amherst as a final tune-up for its match today at Harvard. If the team beats the Crimson, the Bulldogs will be in position to challenge Princeton Friday at the National Intercollegiate Squash Racquets Association team championships.

A victory over Princeton at the NISRAs would give Yale a share of the Ivy crown and would allow the team to compete for the national championship.

“We could easily finish as high as No. 2 nationally,” said Mathur, Yale’s No. 4 player. “[There are] gonna be really close matches this weekend, and things could go either way. But I think we’re ready.”

Yale’s season ends with the completion of the NISRA tournament at Harvard March 2-4.

Ziad Hader '03 takes a swing in a match against Brown earlier in the season. The No. 4 men's squash team beat No. 14 Amherst 8-1 Saturday. The Elis are now on a three-match winning streak and in contention to win the Ancient Eight crown.
Stephen Milbank
Ziad Hader '03 takes a swing in a match against Brown earlier in the season. The No. 4 men's squash team beat No. 14 Amherst 8-1 Saturday. The Elis are now on a three-match winning streak and in contention to win the Ancient Eight crown.

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