At the outset of this season, the men’s squash team had two goals: claiming the Ivy League championship and advancing to the final round of Nationals. The Bulldogs achieved the first goal with a 8–1 victory over Harvard this past Saturday. This weekend, they will attempt to accomplish the second, as Yale hosts the College Squash Association National Team championship tournament at the Brady Squash Center..
“Our coach said we’ve accomplished a lot, but how we do in nationals will affect how we will look at the season as a whole,” Rusty Feldman ’10 said. “To win the Ivy Title and come up short would be disappointing. It’s been a nice ride, but we’re not done yet.”
In all, 62 teams will be competing in eight divisions at the tournament this weekend. The Elis, who are currently ranked No. 2, will compete in the top “division A” bracket against the top-eight teams in the nation. The winner of the tournament will take home the Potter Cup, which has belonged to Trinity for the past 11 years.
In their first-round match, the Elis will take on the No. 7 Big Green today at 12:30 p.m. Dartmouth finished the regular season with an 11–6 record, which included an 8–1 loss to the Bulldogs in New Haven Jan. 9.
“We do feel good about Dartmouth, but by no means will we underestimate anyone,” Sharyar Aziz ’10 said.
If the Bulldogs win their first-round match, they will face either Rochester or Cornell Saturday. Rochester, which is currently ranked just behind the Elis at No. 3, would seem to pose a stronger threat than No. 6 Cornell. In last year’s CSA team championship, the Bulldogs fell to the Yellowjackets after having defeated them in the regular season.
“Last year, they flipped the script on us, and it left a bitter taste,” Feldman said. “We know they’re going to be gunning for us, and they’re a really strong team. It’s going to come down to who wants it more.”
If the Elis emerge from their first two rounds victorious, they will make it to the third and final round matches on Sunday, which Feldman said Trinity will almost certainly be in. Trinity, which has entered each of the last 11 Potter’s Cup finals as the team to beat, celebrated its 221st consecutive match win when it defeated No. 4 Princeton Feb. 13.
“Trinity is obviously the heavy favorite, and they have been for about a dozen years,” Feldman said.
On their way to the finals, the No. 1 Trinity Bantams will first need to defeat No. 8 Western Ontario and either No. 4 Princeton or No. 5 Harvard.
The Elis say they are hopeful for this weekend’s matches and the possibility of a Yale-Trinity final. But they are careful not to get too ahead of themselves.
“It’s going to be a tough weekend,” Aziz said. “We’d love to play Trinity again and throw absolutely everything that we’ve got at them. But, first and foremost, we have to get there.”
The Elis have the best record in recent memory this season, only dropping one match to Trinity Jan. 20.
At No. 2, captain Todd Ruth ’10 is looking to close out his college squash career with a strong showing at Nationals. During the regular season, Ruth won a total of eight times in Yale’s 13 matches. And Kenny Chan ’13 is looking to improve his already successful rookie season at the No. 1 spot. Chan has won seven out of 11 matches this season.
Rounding out the top nine for the Bulldogs this weekend are No. 3 Aaron Fuchs ’10, No. 4 Hywel Robinson ’13, No. 5 John Roberts ’12, No. 6 Naishadh Lalwani ’11, No. 7 Richard Dodd ’13, No. 8 Robbie Berner ’12 and No. 9 CJ Plimpton ’11.
The Bulldogs’ first round match against Dartmouth begins at 12:30 p.m. at the Brady Squash Center.