With momentum from convincing weekend victories, the men’s and women’s squash teams head to Hartford today for a showdown with Trinity College.
The women’s team easily defeated Cornell (3-6) on Saturday and faces a tough test: nationally ranked No. 1 and the defending national champion Bantams (3-0). And the men’s team, after beating Cornell (4-6) and Hobart William and Smith Colleges (4-2) on Saturday, will compete with nationally ranked No. 1 Trinity (4-0), also reigning national champion.
The women’s team (4-0) defeated a Big Red squad in the midst of a rebuilding year 9-0, dropping only one game on the way to victory.
“We all won fairly easy,” said Amy Gross ’06, who plays No. 2 for the Bulldogs.
Things will not be as easy for Gross and Yale’s No. 1 Michelle Quibell ’06 against Trinity, whose top two players, Amina Helal and Lynn Leong, were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 nationally at the start of the season.
“They’re going to have to play at the top of their games,” head coach Mark Talbott said.
While positions one and two could be tough contests, the Elis’ depth and team chemistry should help.
“If we play well, and it comes down to who wants it more, I think we’ll win,” Gross said.
Trinity is the Bulldogs’ first test of the season, after several easy victories.
A victory against Trinity would be a step toward a national championship, Quibell said.
The men’s team (5-0) finds itself in a similar situation. After beating Cornell 8-1 in the morning Saturday, the men’s team headed to Hobart and won every match without losing a game.
“It was a good weekend,” Yale’s No. 1 Julian Illingworth ’06 said. “We took care of business. No letups.”
Trinity offers Yale a more challenging lineup.
“We’re in a pretty good position, [though] they have a really strong team,” Christopher Wyant ’05 said. “We’re as strong at the top as we ever have been.”
Trinity is the first of the Elis’ three big matches of the season, the other two against Harvard and Princeton.
“The key to winning will be gaining a few wins up top and then securing victories in the bottom of the lineup,” Illingworth said.
The Elis gain strength from the return of Avner Geva ’06, who has been out for months with a back injury. He will play at No. 3 or No. 4 today, Illingworth said.
“[Geva] adds a lot of strength to our team,” Wyant said.