In its last competition of the season, the men’s squash squad came away with a fourth place finish at the CSA National Team Championships.
On Friday, the Brady Squash Center in New Haven hosted 57 squash teams that competed in eight divisions for the team championships. After steam-rolling No. 5 Cornell 7–2, the No. 4 Bulldogs (12-5, 5-2 Ivy) lost a hard-fought match in the semi-finals to No. 1 Trinity, the eventual national champion. On the last day of play, Yale came up against No. 2 Princeton and was not able to come out victorious, ending up in fourth after a 6–3 loss.
“We had a great win over Cornell in the first round that gave us a nice confidence boost,” Kenneth Chan ’13 said. “Unfortunately, when we played Trinity, they played better than us that day. Throughout the tournament we played our hearts out and gave it 100 percent. I couldn’t have asked for more from my teammates.”
The Cornell Big Red fell to the Bulldogs earlier in the season 8–1 on Jan. 12 at home in Ithaca, N.Y. Coming into the championships, Cornell had just finished the regular season with a four-match winning streak and a third place tie with Yale in the Ivy League standings. In the team championships last year, the Big Red knocked the Bulldogs out of contention for the national title in the first round of play at Princeton.
This year, however, Cornell was not so lucky, falling 7–2 to an improved Yale squad. Two of Yale’s three seniors who played against Cornell came out victorious. Team captain Hywel Robinson ’13 and Richard Dodd ’13 both won in three games at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively, while Chan fell in a tough four-game match against Cornell’s Nicholas Sachvie. The Bulldogs’ only other loss came at No. 7 when Eric Caine ’14 fell to Geoffrey Keating.
The long-awaited rematch against the Trinity Bantams took place the next morning. Amidst very vocal Trinity fans, the Bulldogs fell 7–2 in the second round of play. Yale did not go down without a fight, bringing five of the nine matches to four or more games.
Robinson had a particularly exciting match, which dragged out until the final point, but ended up falling 3–2 to Juan Vargas. The two wins for the Bulldogs came at the No. 3 and No. 4 spots. Dodd crushed his opponent in three easy games, the last in 11–4.
The final round of play on Sunday ended with a No. 4 finish for the Bulldogs, a position predicted by the team’s No. 4 tournament seed. The 6–3 loss to Princeton mirrors the score of the Tigers’ victory over Yale just three weeks prior. Although the Elis were unable to overcome their seed, Chan said the title could have gone to any of the top six teams in attendance.
“It’s been incredible playing with Hywel, Richard, Kenneth and Sam [Haig ’13] these past three years. They have been consummate student athletes and role models on and off the court,’ Caine said. “The Yale squash program owes each of them an enormous debt for everything they’ve helped us achieve.”
The CSA Individual Championships will take place March 1–3 at Trinity in Hartford, Conn.