Sometimes in sports, drive and determination are not enough to trump the superior talent of an opposing team’s roster. Despite a sound effort last night, the men’s squash team could not overcome what may be one of the most imposing collegiate teams ever assembled.
Though the Bulldogs lost to Trinity 9-0 at the Kellner Center in Hartford, the team does not expect to lose much of the momentum it picked up over the past few weekends. Todd Ruth ’10 and Ho Ming Chiu ’08 both took their opponents to fourth games, a mild accomplishment, but a highlight nonetheless against the ubertalented Bantams.
“They’ve got the best team they’ve ever had,” head coach Dave Talbott said, “On paper this is the best team I’ve seen in my college career, a team for the ages.”
Last season, the Bulldogs gave the Bantams one of the stiffer challenges they experienced all season and still came up on the wrong end of a lopsided 7-2 loss. All-American Julian Illingworth ’06 and Francis Johnson ’09 delivered the only wins for the team.
A 7-2 loss would have been a real triumph on Tuesday, but things didn’t work out for the Elis.
“We were all psyched coming in with nothing to lose,” Ruth said. “I felt like everyone was hanging in strong in the beginning and then just couldn’t keep up.”
Yale had reasonable expectations coming into the match, but might have liked a more favorable box score.
“It’s good to get in a winning mindset going in, but I know Trinity is nothing like any of the other teams we’ve played,” Max Samuel ’08 said a few days before the match.
That may actually be an understatement. Trinity, widely regarded as the national powerhouse in squash, has secured eight straight College Squash Association Team Championship titles and over the past eight years has won 155 straight matches, including last night’s defeat of the Bulldogs.
Coach Talbott said Trinity has raised the bar high, compiling a roster with many players who could have turned professional.
Trinity boasts four players in the top 10 of the CSA Individual Rankings. In contrast, no Yale name appears in the top 10. The CSA list includes freshman Baset Chaudhry, one of the best junior squash players to ever come out of Pakistan. In his collegiate debut last night, he made quick work of Nick Chirls ’07 in three games, all by the same 9-1 score. The Bantams also returned four of their five All-Americans from last season. Seniors Shaun Johnstone, Eduardo Pereira, Sahil Vora and sophomore Gustav Detter all played well Tuesday night.
“If you look at these match-ups on paper, they have the advantage everywhere,” Talbott said.
Ruth said the team is playing well and should be able to pick up some wins in their next matches.
The Elis will return to New Haven this weekend for the Yale Round Robin on both Saturday and Sunday in the Brady Squash Center. On Saturday, the Bulldogs may have a tough test against the Midshipmen of the Naval Academy, a surging team that just recently moved to 10th on the CSA team rankings.