Both the men’s and women’s squash teams maintained their undefeated records over winter break, winning all four of their matches, including two against Ivy opponents.
The two Yale squads easily handled Franklin & Marshall and then Drexel last Wednesday before defeating Columbia and Cornell this weekend at home.
“[The break] definitely gives us a lot of confidence,” Thomas Dembinski ’17 said. “Obviously, we’re entering the bulk of our schedule, the tougher part of our schedule now, but we’re really confident after our start.”
The No. 3 Eli men (6–0, 2–0 Ivy) swept Drexel and beat Franklin & Marshall by a score of 6–3. The next weekend, they won 7–2 over No. 11 Columbia, but No. 8 Cornell proved stronger competition, and Yale barely edged out a 5–4 victory.
The No. 5 women’s team (6–0, 2–0) managed to sweep all four of its opponents over the break. Since the team’s regular season began against Amherst in December, not a single player on the women’s team has lost a match.
The Yale women simply overpowered No. 11 Columbia (2–2, 1–2) in their first Ivy match on Saturday. As they had done against the two Pennsylvanian opponents earlier in the week, they managed to win not only every individual match, but every single game of the 27 in the overall contest.
No. 6 Cornell (4–2, 2–1) came into the Brady Squash Center the next day without having lost a match, therefore appearing to pose a tougher challenge to the Elis. And they were, in the sense that of the nine Eli wins, only seven of them were in three game sweeps.
Shihui Mao ’15 played a particularly exciting match at number three, dropping her first two games but rallying to win the last three, including 11–9 victories in the fourth and fifth games.
Though every girl on the team is undefeated thus far, captain Lilly Fast ’14 drew attention to the performances of Issey Norman-Ross ’15 and Jenny Scherl ’17 at numbers four and five, respectively.
“They’ve pushed themselves, and it’s shown in their matches,” Fast said. “They’re holding their spots really well and playing at a very competitive level. Last year, we were a little bit weaker in the four and five spots, and this year it’s one of our strong points.”
The Eli men got the same results against Columbia (2–2, 1–2) that they had gotten two months earlier at the Ivy Scrimmages.
Neil Martin ’14 and Sam Fenwick ’16 could not take down brothers Ramit and Rishi Tandon at the first two spots, but all seven of the remaining Bulldogs snagged wins to lock up a clear victory. Six of the wins were in three games.
Against Cornell (4–2, 2–1) the next day, Yale got out to an early lead with three wins at numbers three, six and nine. In the number six match, Liam McClintock ’17 stretched it to five games and outlasted his opponent with an 11–8 victory in the fifth game.
The Bulldogs could only pick up one more win in the next three matches and headed into the final triple needing just one match to seal a victory. Dembinski accomplished that task with a win in the number four match.
The men showed off their depth throughout the vacation, as their third through fifth-seeded players were undefeated in all four matches. Number nine Pehlaaj Bajwa ’16 also won all of his matches over the break.
Though the Bulldogs were able to maintain their perfect record, the close win over Cornell showed that they will need top-notch performances to take down higher-ranked opponents Trinity and Harvard later on this season.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match, but they had a couple of good wins where we weren’t expecting them to have some wins,” Dembinski said. “We were just happy to come out of there with a win.”
The Yale men’s team will play at No. 5 Rochester this Saturday, while the women’s team will stay at home to face Haverford and Tufts on Sunday.