Men’s squash, now 2-0, rolls in Pennsylvania

So far, so good.

After a close victory over Penn early Saturday, the Yale men’s squash team swept Franklin & Marshall later in the afternoon to finish their road trip through Pennsylvania with an unblemished 2-0 record.

The Bulldogs opened the day in Philadelphia against a Penn team they had already swept 9-0 in an Ivy League scrimmage Nov. 11. This time, however, the Elis had to work a little harder to put away the Quakers. Penn quickly jumped to a 2-0 lead after No. 3 Spencer Kurn and No. 6 Joey Raho won the first two matches of the day against No. 3 Todd Ruth ’10 and No. 6 Naishadh Lalwani ’11.

The Elis were not fazed by the early 2-0 deficit as they took the next four games to push their lead to 4-2. In a particularly memorable matchup, Bill Hatch ’09 won two straight games after trailing 2-1 to lead the Yale comeback. Hatch, playing the No. 9 spot, was down 7-3 in the fourth game, giving the Quakers a chance to stretch their lead to 3-0. Although he was just two points away from losing, Hatch came back to take the fourth game, and then won the fifth to secure the victory and put the Elis on the board.

“I knew from the beginning it would be a hard match even though we beat them 9-0 in the Ivy League scrimmage,” captain Moshe Sarfaty ’08 said. “It was a really close match. We lost in a few places we weren’t supposed to lose but we won in others because the guys played with a lot of heart.”

The Quakers fought back with wins by Lee Rosen and James Clark at the No. 1 and No. 4 positions but eventually fell 5-4, keeping the team from securing their first victory of the season. Penn, now 0-3, took the Bulldogs to the brink but were unable to come away with the upset. Sarfaty, playing the No. 7 spot, clinched the Yale victory by winning the eighth match to push the Bulldog lead to 5-3.

“It was really cool that our captain ended up winning the final to seal the deal,” Francis Johnson ’09 said. “Just to pull out the victory like that when it come down to the last match — it’s nice. It sets the tone for the season. It’s great to know that your teammates are going to be fired up and can pull through.”

After escaping Philadelphia with a close victory, the Bulldogs travelled to Lancaster to play Franklin & Marshall. The Diplomats put up a strong fight but were outclassed by a more talented Yale squad.

Sadiq Madraswala, a native of Bombay, India, led the Franklin & Marshall attack by winning his first two games against No. 2 Todd Ruth. Despite facing a huge deficit, Ruth fought back to keep the Bulldogs’ record unblemished, taking the next three games 9-5, 10-8 and 9-6. The Elis won six of the other eight matches in three games.

“It was a good experience for some of the younger members of the team to play some road matches early in the year,” Rusty Feldman ’10 said.

The road trip to Pennsylvania is the only time the Bulldogs will leave the friendly confines of Payne Whitney Gymnasium until Jan. 26, when the Elis will head to Maryland to play Navy.

The Bulldogs will face off against Williams on Dec. 6 before hosting a United States Squash Racquets Association tournament for the next three days.

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