Just one match escaped the squash programs’ grasp this weekend.
Both men’s and women’s squash teams dominated their opponents on the road Jan. 10 and 11, drubbing Williams and Dartmouth colleges by a combined score of 35-1.
In men’s action, with four key players not making the trip, the nationally-ranked No. 4 Elis only dropped one match. Avner Geva ’06, Josh Schwartz ’05, Chris Olsen ’03 and Aftab Mathur ’03, all top seven players on Yale’s roster, rested and tended to injuries, head coach Dave Talbott said.
The women’s team outdid the men’s team, shutting out both the Ephs and the Big Green entirely.
For the men’s team, strong play throughout the ladder characterized the victory.
“Yale has tremendous depth,” said Julian Illingworth ’06, Yale’s No. 1 player. “A lot of teams drop off after their first couple players, but Yale is strong all the way through the lineup.”
Illingworth, who won the United States Squash Rackets Association Junior Olympics, which Yale hosted Dec. 19-22, suffered the first loss of his collegiate career.
“If I was playing well, I should [have won],” Illingworth said. “It just wasn’t my day.”
Against Williams, Illingworth defeated Max Montazelas in three games; Ryan Byrnes dominated Todd Herlihy at the four spot, 9-3, 9-1, 9-0.
“We definitely dominated, as we should,” Talbott said. “The guys played focused, considering we were coming off of a week of hard training.”
Yale has yet to run into a tough opponent in head to head play this year, with the most important matches still to come. But the earlier games are important preparation, Illingworth said.
The nationally-ranked No. 3 women’s team made easy work of the Big Green and the Ephs.
“Even though the teams aren’t as good as us, everyone still played really well and kept their focus through the match,” said Lauren Doline ’05, who did not drop a game in either match.
The Elis limited their errors in preparation for more difficult matches later this season, head coach Mark Talbott said.
Michelle Quibell ’06 and Amy Gross ’06 led the Bulldogs, playing No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.
Quibell, after beating Williams’ Adrienne Ellman 10-8 in the first game, won the next 18 points to close out the match. She then defeated Dartmouth’s Charlotte Haldeman the next day: 9-1, 9-0, 9-0.
While the freshmen have done a great job adjusting to college squash, the strength of the team is at the 5, 6, 7 and 8 positions, Mark Talbott said.
Doline, captain Gina Wilkinson ’03, Devon Dalzell ’04 and Sarah Coleman ’05 fill those four spots, at times in different positions.
“Each position’s important; each counts the same,” Doline said.
Like the men’s team, the women have yet to play in a highly contested match.
The Elis have used the early matches to prepare for Harvard and Trinity, but at the same time, no opponent can be overlooked, Doline said.
Today, the team heads to Hartford to play nationally-ranked No. 1 Trinity in a round robin scrimmage.
“It’s definitely a measuring stick,” Mark Talbott said.
Yale must contend with unusual playing conditions that include blue floors and white balls.
With competition about to pick up, the Bulldogs hope that Frances Ho ’05, who was ranked No. 8 in the country last year, can fully recover from nagging ankle injuries.
“They know there are some really tough matches coming up, and they’re a couple of teams that are going to be very difficult,” Talbott said.