Though there was snow on the ground outside this past weekend, on the squash courts, the Elis were on fire.
The men’s squash team earned its second and third victories of the season on the road this weekend. After soundly defeating UPenn in the afternoon, the Bulldogs headed to Lancaster, Pa., for a night match, where they beat Franklin & Marshall. Both matches were decided with scores of 9–0.
“The team played really well from top to bottom,” Sharyar Aziz ’10 said. “They were good matches for us to see where we’re at against a tough Ivy competitor. Everybody did what they needed to do.”
So far this season, the Quakers (3–2, 1–1 Ivy) have struggled to find their stride, dropping three of their first five matches. The Elis (3–0, 1–0) managed four 3–0 wins at Nos. 2, 3, 8 and 9. Kenny Chan ’13, playing in the No. 1 position, fought hard to bring down UPenn’s Mark Froot, 3–2. After dropping his first two matches, Chan rallied and soundly won his last three games.
“It was a great match for him because obviously playing against an Ivy opponent has an element of added pressure,” Aziz said. “He played really smart squash.”
Fellow freshman Hywel Robinson ’13 took down the Quakers’ Porter Drake in four games with scores of 6–11, 11–7, 11–1 and 11–4.
In the evening, the Bulldogs traveled to Franklin & Marshall. The Diplomats finished last season ranked No. 12 in the nation. Yale, now ranked No. 4, won seven of its nine matches in straight sets.
“They have a few really good players at the very top,” C.J. Plimpton ’10 said. “After having tough matches in the morning, our players were able to put in another good performance.”
While the Elis are committed to approaching each match with the same energy and focus, they have yet to be truly tested, Aziz said.
“If we’re going to do something special this year, we need to put in the time and work over break,” Aziz said. “It’s not just about staying put, but actually improving. No one is easing up after this past weekend, we still have our work cut out for us.”
In January, the Bulldogs will face off against four of their annual foes. On Jan. 10, the Bulldogs will take on Rochester, a team that has been steadily gaining strength with each successive season.
“[Rochester] is going to be such a tough team to play,” Aziz said. “It’s going to be our first real test of the season.”
The next week, in the Yale Round Robin, Yale will host three teams, including Cornell. The Big Red have been steadily climbing up the National College Squash Association rankings. Last year, the Elis barely scraped out a 5–4 victory over Cornell.
The Bulldogs will host their biggest rival, Trinity College, after the winter break. Trinity currently holds the record for the longest winning streak of any intercollegiate sport with 204 consecutive wins. The Bantams have not lost a single match in over a decade, sweeping 11 consecutive national titles.
“If everything falls our way, we could beat Trinity,” captain Todd Ruth ’10 said. “It also doesn’t hurt that we get them at home this year.”
The Elis will close January with a match against Princeton. In this year’s preseason, the Bulldogs managed a 6–3 win over the Tigers.
“Before our scrimmage this year, we hadn’t even been close to beating Princeton,” Ruth said.
Ruth conceded that the Princeton lineup that the Elis defeated in the scrimmage was not the same one they will face in their conference match.
“All within a month, we’ll be able to see how everything we’ve done has paid off,” Aziz said. “Looking around the league, we know we’re right there with the other teams. On paper, we match up well against [Princeton, Rochester, Cornell and Trinity].”
On Jan. 9, Yale will host Dartmouth at 11 a.m. in the Brady Squash Center.