Playing without two starters and just a week after a disappointing 8–1 loss to No. 2 Princeton, the No. 3 men’s squash team overcame the odds to top No. 4 Harvard Sunday.
No. 1 Hywel Robinson ’13 and No. 9 Charlie Wyatt ’14 were unavailable for yesterday’s matchup with the Cantabs (14–3, 5–2 Ivy), but the Elis (14–1, 6–1 Ivy) hurdled that obstacle to defeat their archrival 5–4 at the Brady Squash Center.
Samuel Clayman ’12, who won the decisive game for Yale, said that missing those two players put the Bulldogs at a disadvantage from the beginning.
“With us missing [Robinson and Wyatt] this was definitely an upset on paper,” Clayman said. “For us to get a win missing those guys is really huge.”
Clayman’s four-game victory over Cantab Julian Kirby made the overall score 5–3 and clinched the victory for Yale.
Although No. 3 John Roberts ’12 and No. 5 Neil Martin ’14 swept their opponents, other Bulldog victories were not as one-sided. No. 2 Richard Dodd ’13 needed four games and No. 6 Robby Berner ’12 was pushed to five games in order to emerge victorious.
What made these matches more difficult was the fact that without Robinson at his usual No. 1 position, players were moved up higher in the order.
“We don’t have a very deep bench, so having guys step up like this, I think the guys are almost as excited as they were for Trinity,” head coach David Talbott said. “Guys stepped in and played a spot or two up and impressed.”
Clayman was particularly impressive. Berner said Clayman was an American walk-on to the team his freshman year, something extremely rare in the squash world. He added that last year Clayman was last on the bench, but he worked his way into the starting lineup.
The victory came in Yale’s final match before the CSA Team Championships to be held at Princeton next weekend. Although the loss to Princeton Feb. 4 took away the Elis’ hopes of repeating as Ivy League Champions, yesterday’s victory assured the Bulldogs of a second-place finish in the Ancient Eight.
Berner added that Yale, Trinity, and Princeton form a “bit of a triangle” as Yale defeated Trinity, Trinity upended Princeton, and Princeton took down Yale this season. Berner said the home team was victorious in all of these matches.
Talbott said that the Bulldogs had been riding high after stopping No. 1 Trinity’s 13-year winning streak last month, but the loss at Princeton took that away. He added that he felt defeating the Crimson yesterday could restore the team’s energy.
“After the big win at Trinity, the bad loss to Princeton took the wind out of us,” Talbott said. “Hopefully we have our momentum back, and we can take that into nationals.”
On Friday, the Elis defeated Dartmouth in Hanover, NH 6–3.
The class of 2012 is only the second class of seniors to go undefeated against Harvard all four years, Berner said.