The men’s squash team lost all four of its matches at the United States Squash Racquets Association National Championships in Hartford this weekend. The results, however, were deceiving, as the nationally-ranked No. 3 Elis played solidly throughout their lineup, despite missing captain Gavin Cumberbatch ’05 and No. 2 Josh Schwartz ’05 due to illness.
The Bulldogs, who sent two squads to the five-man team event, ended up playing other Ivy rivals last weekend, dropping two matches to Harvard (3-2 and 5-0), one to Princeton (4-1) and one to Penn (3-2). During the regular season, the Bulldogs defeated Penn, 7-2, and crushed Princeton, 8-1, but fell to Harvard, 6-3.
The USSRA Championship tournament differs from the other competitions the Bulldogs have played in this year. The games do not count toward the national rankings, and USSRA games include top players from all levels from amateur to pro. In College Squash Association matches, there are only college teams.
Eli players were not terribly upset by this weekend’s defeats because of the low-pressure, low-stakes nature of the tournament. Most players were glad to get a chance to sharpen their skills in preparation for the CSA Team Championships next weekend.
“It was a good opportunity to get some competitive matches against other players,” Chris Wyant ’05 said. “Our results weren’t as good as we had hoped, but there’s no harm, because CSAs are most important. I think people were just saving their energy for next weekend.”
Alex Tilton ’06 said the Elis’ results at the USSRAs were not as good as usual because the tournament is not actually part of the collegiate squash season.
“These matches do not count towards the national rankings, which might account in part for the losses this weekend,” Tilton said. “Many guys didn’t play their best. We will refocus this week in practice and try to knock off Harvard next weekend.”
Barring any drastic upsets, the Elis will play the Cantabs in the CSA semifinals next weekend. Yale has been aiming to unseat Harvard from its Ivy throne since losing Feb. 12 in Cambridge. This marks the second-straight year that Yale has finished second to Harvard in the final regular season rankings.
“We’re excited to get take another crack at beating Harvard,” Julian Illingworth ’06 said. “We’re going to mix the lineup up a bit. Some guys at the bottom are starting to play well, so we’ll see what happens.”
Wyant was optimistic about the team’s chances of beating Harvard.
“We’re glad to get another shot,” Wyant said. “I think we have a great chance of beating them.”