Undefeated in the Ivy League, the Yale men’s squash team (8–1, Ivy 2–0) has been preparing to take on the reigning national champions this weekend along with another tough conference opponent.
The nationally ranked No. 1 Princeton Tigers will descend on New Haven this Saturday to take on the No. 4 Bulldogs in a fight for Ivy League pride and a head start on the conference title. The Tigers, with a perfect record, will look to maintain their No. 1 spot, and the Bulldogs will play to keep their winning record at home. The Elis will also face another Ivy rival, No. 12 Penn, on Sunday.
“We are very excited to play Princeton,” Eric Caine ’14 said. “We’ve been waiting a year for this opportunity and want to make the most of it. Last year we lost to them at their courts, and are now looking to reverse the result this time around at home.”
Yale has had a consistently strong lineup so far this season, with its only close match a 5–4 victory over Williams at the beginning of the month. The only loss the Bulldogs have suffered was against Trinity 7–2 in Hartford last Wednesday. The matches this weekend will open up conference play for the Bulldogs at home.
Last year against Princeton, the Elis lost 8–1, but finished the away trip with a win over the Quakers 8–1. A win against the Tigers this year would extend the Bulldog’s home record to 5–0 and their conference record to 3–0.
Two upperclassmen said the team has been waiting to pounce on Princeton for a long time and has been training extremely hard in the interim.
“The team has been sticking to our master plan devised by team captain Hywel Robinson ’13,” Sam Fenwick ’16 said. “Early-morning lifts and agility make us mentally and physically stronger — we’d all rather die on court than come off defeated. … We have all worked hard enough since the beginning of the season that physicality is not an issue.”
Princeton and Yale have combined to win the past six Ivy League titles and shared the title back in 2006 in a three-way split with Harvard. As a result, the winner of this regular season match has also been the Ivy League champion seven years in a row. The team with home advantage has won three of the last four years.
“The attitude for this match is pure excitement. This is why we are here, this is why we play,” Fenwick said. “Everyone wants to give back to the coaches and seniors for their dedication. We want it all and this would be a huge step towards that.”
The matches will take place this weekend at noon at the Brady Squash Center in New Haven, with Princeton challenging the Elis on Saturday and the Quakers coming after on Sunday.