While most Yalies are still adjusting to the ups and downs of another semester, the undefeated men’s squash team has remained remarkably consistent after scoring critical victories over squash powerhouses University of Western Ontario and Cornell this weekend.
After a nine-hour northbound bus ride to Ithaca, N.Y., the No. 3 Elis faced off against the University Western Ontario on Friday night and swept the Mustangs 9-0. The Bulldogs won 27 of 33 games in the shutout victory, including five individual shutouts from No. 1 Julian Illingworth ’06, No. 2 Josh Schwartz ’05, No. 3 Nick Chirls ’07, No. 4 Moshe Sarfaty ’08 and No. 8 Ho Ming Chiu ’08.
“We were expecting UWO to be a very difficult match as they are ranked right behind us,” Chirls said. “However, we came out tough and ended up beating them 9-0, which is a very good result for us going into this week.”
On Saturday, the Bulldogs bested Cornell with relative ease, cruising to a 8-1 victory over the Big Red. The only game Yale lost was a hotly contested battle at No. 5. Trevor Rees ’06 fell to Matt Greenberg by a score of 3-2. However, captain Gavin Cumberbatch ’05 pulled out a 3-2 victory at No. 6, and all seven of the Elis’ other matches were shutout victories. Sarfaty and Illingworth gave two of the day’s strongest performances, and Schwartz swept both his matches over the weekend despite missing the previous weekend due to illness.
“Moshe has been playing pretty well of late, and Julian took care of business as usual,” Chris Wyant ’05 said. “Josh Schwartz dealt with some back problems in the preseason and had the flu last weekend, but he still won both matches pretty handily.”
The Bulldogs were also supposed to play Hobart on Saturday afternoon, but the game was snowed out.
This weekend’s matches were a crucial test for the Elis because they face their biggest match of the year this Wednesday against No. 1 Trinity. The fact that the Bulldogs won decisively in both of this weekend’s contests shows that they are ready for the challenge, Schwartz said.
“The wins over UWO and Cornell were dominating performances top to bottom,” Schwartz said. “Going into the match, we were concerned about our opponents because they were both improved from last year. However, there were no disappointments as everyone played up to form, and we won both matches easily — Our competition on Wednesday will be much stiffer.”
In addition to being the current top-ranked team in the nation, Trinity has been unbeatable throughout this entire decade, winning the last six national championships. Although the Elis will be underdogs for the first time this season, they are optimistic and excited to play the Bantams.
“We have been looking forward to this match all year,” Chirls said. “They are the weakest they have been in several years, and we think this is our best chance in a long time to beat them.”
After their showdown with the Bantams, the Bulldogs will face Princeton next Saturday at the Brady Squash Center in New Haven. But for now, the focus is on Trinity, because as everyone knows, Princeton doesn’t matter.