M. SQUASH | Near perfect in huge victory

After its first loss of the season last Wednesday, the men’s squash team scored a boost to its self-esteem this weekend with four back-to-back wins in the Yale Round Robin at the Brady Squash Center.

The Bulldogs (12-1, 3-0 Ivy) were busy Saturday, defeating Bates College 7-2, Navy 9-0, and Franklin & Marshall 9-0. Sunday, the Elis took down Denison, 9-0.

“It was nice to use this weekend to regain our focus after Trinity and sharpen our skills,” Rusty Feldman ’10 said.

Every member of the team played at least one match, which gave players outside of the top nine a chance to get on the court.

“These last four matches gave everyone a chance to play,” captain Ethan Oetter ’09 said. “They were able to get in as much match play as possible before the end of the season.”

“We got to rest some of our top players,” Feldman added. “It gave players some good match experience to put under their belt.”

Sharyar Aziz ’10 played an exhausting total of four matches. Aziz managed to win three of the four, including a 3-0 victory Sunday.

“I just wanted to get in as many matches as I could,” Aziz said. “It was good experience and some good match play.”

Against Bates, the Bulldogs had an opportunity to showcase their newest members. Freshmen Ryan Dowd ’12, Robert Berner ’12 and Sam Clayman ’12 all won their matches against the Bobcats.

In their match against Navy, the Elis assembled an All-American lineup.

“Navy is always a hard match,” Oetter said. “They’re always very fit and focused every time we play them.”

The Elis’ strict training regiment helped them prepare for the tough match against the Midshipmen, ultimately launching them to a 9-0 victory. The top eight players, John Fulham ’11, Todd Ruth ’10, Francis Johnson ’09, Colin Campbell ’09, CJ Plimpton ’11, Billy Hatch ’09, Oetter and Feldman all took down their opponents, 3-0.

Sunday, the Bulldogs triumphed over Denison, 9-0, only giving up one game in the No. 4 match.

With these four wins under their belt, the Elis are looking forward to this coming weekend’s matchup against Princeton (6-0, 2-0 Ivy).

“All of our sights are set on Princeton,” Oetter said. “When we articulated our goals at the beginning of the season, Princeton came up a lot.”

The Tigers have had an unblemished season so far and, as always, have an incredibly strong team.

“The big day on our calendar has always been January 31st,” Aziz said.

After their face-off with Princeton, the Bulldogs have two more obstacles — those perhaps less daunting ones — on their way to the Ivy title: Brown and Harvard.

The No. 14 Bears (2-4, 0-3 Ivy) have had a tough season. The No. 4 Crimson (5-2, 2-1 Ivy) has struggled against the top teams and was defeated by Cornell earlier this season for the first time in 47 years.

The Elis will face a special set of circumstances when they take on the Cantabs.

“Something happens when Harvard plays Yale,” Oetter said. “It becomes a knock down, drag out fight. The winning team is always the scrappiest.”

The Bulldogs face Princeton in their biggest match of the season Saturday in the Brady Squash Center.

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