Although neither the men’s nor the women’s squash teams were able to overcome Trinity College in their matches against both top ranked squads yesterday, both teams said that the losses left them ready for the rest of the season.
“Going into this match, we had nothing to lose, and Trinity had everything to lose,” said men’s captain Peter Grote ’02. “We wanted to win, and we went in thinking we were going to win — but our real goal is to win the Ivy League.”
No. 3 Yale (5-1, 1-0 Ivy) was unable to rise to what will probably prove to be the toughest challenge for any team in college squash this season, falling to the No. 1 Bantams 9-0. Trinity (2-0) has won the previous three Howe Cups, the national championship of college squash.
Despite falling to Trinity, Grote pointed to bright spots, as the Yale men look to battle eight teams this weekend, including matches with No. 6 Dartmouth, No. 7 Cornell and No. 5 Williams, whom they will host tomorrow afternoon.
“The play was encouraging,” he said. Grote added that he felt Trinity was no longer out of reach.
Notably, Ryan Byrnes ’05, who played in the number five position for the Bulldogs yesterday, battled Trinity’s Rohan Bhappu, eventually falling in five games 3-2. Bhappu is the ranked No. 17 in the nation.
Alex Ende ’05, Yale’s ninth player, also took his Trinity opponent into five games.
The Yale women fared better against a No. 2 Trinity women’s team, losing 7-2. Head coach Mark Talbott expressed sentiment similar to Grote’s when asked about the loss.
“I was pleased,” he said, “It was very competitive. Trinity may very well be the best team in the nation.”
Yale’s number four and five players, Lauren Doline ’05 and Gina Wilkinson ’03, were the team’s only winners, both winning 3-1. This along with the play of Abigail McDonough ’05, who narrowly lost her match, was encouraging considering the quality of Trinity’s top three players.
The Bantam top three of Amina Helal, Lynn Leong, and Pam Saunders are ranked first, fifth and seventh in the nation, respectively.
“From four down we played really well,” Talbott said. “It was a good experience for the upcoming matches.”
Talbott said that his team — which is composed primarily of underclassmen, many of who are freshmen — needs this type of experience in order to be ready for Trinity (3-0) should No. 4 Yale face them in the Howe Cup tournament.
Before that happens however, the Yale women will face a somewhat daunting task this weekend, which will include contests against No. 5 Cornell and No. 8 Dartmouth.
“It’s a very determined group,” Talbott said. “They are going into [this weekend] a little hungrier.”