The men’s squash team will head north to battle the eight best college teams in the College Squash Association’s Team Championships at Harvard this weekend.
The Eli men (14-2, 6-1 Ivy) hold the No. 3 position in the CSA rankings, behind Harvard and Trinity. The other five opponent schools will be St. Lawrence, Franklin and Marshall, Rochester, Cornell and Penn, at the 4th-8th ranks, respectively. Together, the eight schools make up the Potter Division, the top division at the championships, and will be fighting for the CSA national title.
“I know that if we play well, we can get past some tough matches,” TJ Dembinski ’17 said. “We can hopefully do some serious damage with the goal being the national title.”
Dembinski will play at the fourth position for Yale. Positions 5 and 6 will also be handled by freshmen Kah Wah Cheong ’17 and Liam McClintock ’17.
The CSA championships will be held as a single-elimination tournament, raising the pressure of each match. As the No. 3 team, Yale’s first match will be against the Rochester Yellow Jackets. The victor advances to play the winner of the matchup between No. 2 Trinity and No. 7 Cornell.
“We’ll prepare just like any other match,” captain Eric Caine ’14 said. “We’re optimistic that if we play strong and tough, we’ll be fine.”
The Jackets defeated the Bulldogs in last year’s CSA championships, but Yale bested Rochester 6-3 at an away match early this season. Rochester’s three wins were at the top three spots against Neil Martin ’14, Sam Fenwick ’16 and Zach Leman ’16.
According to Caine, his team is well prepared to defeat Rochester and move to the second round of the championship games.
“I’m feeling very excited about nationals,” Cheong said. “We really hope that, in this last leap, we can all play our best and achieve the incredible.”
The Eli men have only been defeated by No. 1 Harvard and No. 2 Trinity thus far this season. Both matches were tight, and the 5-4 fall to Trinity was especially narrow.
Caine said the Bulldogs are eager for another chance to face off against the Crimson and the Bantams after the close losses.
“I think we have had a really great season which gives confidence going into nationals,” Dembinski said.
Martin said the Elis were underdogs this season and have surprised the competition with their success.
A number of the Bulldogs said that they are confident entering the weekend’s action.
“Going into this weekend we have nothing to lose,” Martin said in an email.
The champion team will be decided after three rounds of play.