Although the weather outside was frigid, the men’s squash team was on fire this weekend. The Bulldogs burned the competition, beating Williams, Dartmouth and Navy by a combined score of 27-0.
The Elis’ first victim was Williams. Playing in Williamstown, Mass. on Friday, the Bulldogs handed the Ephs a demoralizing 9-0 defeat despite getting off to a slow start.
“We came out a bit sloppy against Williams,” Nick Chirls ’07 said. “But Julian [Illingworth ’06], our number one, did not lose a point to the Williams number one, and I have heard since that he may give up squash.”
The Elis then voyaged to the other side of the icy New England tundra to play Dartmouth Saturday in Hanover, N.H. The Big Green proved no match for the Bulldogs as Yale pounded Dartmouth, 9-0.
Though it was a shutout, the match against the Big Green was not a complete blowout for the Elis. Dartmouth proved to be pesky, especially at the top of its lineup.
“The Dartmouth top two are pretty good,” Illingworth said. “We had a tough time with them.”
The Bulldogs returned to New Haven on Saturday night in time to defeat Navy 9-0, completing their third sweep of the weekend. The Elis’ match against Bates, which was originally scheduled for Sunday, was cancelled.
On the whole, the Bulldogs were thrilled with their performance over the weekend.
“Last weekend’s matches were relatively straightforward victories for the team,” captain Gavin Cumberbatch ’05 said. “But [they] were incredibly useful for doing some self-evaluation and in making slight adjustments to our training schedule in order to peak for our Feb. 12 match against Harvard.”
Defeating Harvard, a basic goal of most Yale teams, is especially relevant for the men’s squash team this year. The Elis have finished second three years in a row, a streak they are looking to change — and not by finishing third. Head coach David Talbott emphasized the importance of knocking the Cantabs from the Ivy League squash throne.
“After finishing three years in a row at number two in the Ivy League, we are focused on winning the League,” Talbott said.
In a sport dominated by Ivy League teams, being in contention for an Ivy title means being in contention for a national championship. The Elis, who entered the season as the No. 3 team in the nation, view most of their matches as warm-ups for their upcoming showdowns with No. 2 Harvard and No. 1 Trinity.
The Bulldogs return to action Friday against University of Western Ontario in Ithaca, N.Y. The Elis are hoping for a strong challenge before playing Cornell, Hobart and Trinity on Saturday.
“The team is getting geared up for our showdown with the University of Western Ontario,” Cumberbatch said. “UWO is one of the strongest teams in the league this year and our team desperately needs some competitive matches to help us sharpen up and identify our weaknesses prior to the Harvard match.”