The men’s squash team defeated its toughest opponent so far this season, as the Bulldogs picked up their fourth and fifth wins this past weekend.
The Elis bested Dartmouth 8-1 at home on Saturday, and passed their first true test of the season in a 6–3 away win against Rochester the following day.
Rochester’s Yellowjackets came into the season ranked No. 2 in the nation after defeating Princeton. Yale (5–0, 2–0 Ivy) is currently ranked No. 4 by the College Squash Association.
“Rochester is ranked No. 2 and we’re No. 4, so it’s a huge win,” captain Todd Ruth ’10 said. “It’s probably the most satisfying win we’ve had since they came in pretty arrogant, [and] thought they were going to clean us up.”
The Big Green, ranked No. 9, have struggled this season with a 3–2 record, dropping both of their conference matches so far. Dartmouth’s lone win on Saturday was a five-game battle in the No. 2 position. Todd Ruth ’10 won the first two games, 12–10 and 11–8, before falling to the Big Green’s Christopher Hanson 11–5, 11–6 and 11–1.
“In the third game, my calves froze up,” Ruth said. “I was beating him pretty badly, and then I let him back in.”
Against Rochester, the Bulldogs won the bottom six matches but dropped the top three. Sharyar Aziz ’10 called the win a team effort from top to bottom.
“Roberts destroyed the kid at [No. 5] — that was pretty nice,” Ruth said, referring to John Roberts ’12. “Any win against Rochester is good— we got six.”
But within the next three weeks, the Bulldogs will face even tougher foes.
On Jan. 16, Yale will take on Cornell. So far this season, the Big Red (3–2, 1–3 Ivy) have breezed past their non-conference opponents but have been less successful against their Ivy League foes.
“Our win against Rochester gives us some confidence,” head coach Dave Talbott said. “If we keep our and intensity and focus and play at the level we’re playing at right now, we’ll do well.”
Next, the Bulldogs will face off against Trinity at home on Jan. 20. The Bantams, who claim the longest winning streak in varsity intercollegiate sports history, is always the team to beat. The Elis are hopeful, despite Trinity’s 207 total match winning-streak and 11 consecutive national championships.
“This is the strongest team I’ve been on,” Ruth said. “You never know who’s going to have a good day or a bad day.”
The Elis finish off the month with a match away against No. 3 Princeton on Jan. 30. The Tigers (5–1, 2–0 Ivy) are the Ivy League favorites this season.
Aziz said the team has to remain fit and focused if it is going to meet its goals.
Added Talbott: “The way this team’s playing right now, I think we might not only have a shot at the Ivy title, but maybe even also the national title.”