The Penn match may have only been a few weeks back, but for Yale men’s squash, it was as good as ancient history. This time around, there were no flirtations with shocking defeat or rousing comebacks, but a few quick blowouts over a pair of guests at Payne Whitney.
The Elis (4-0, 2-0 Ivy) kicked off the New Year by welcoming their first visitors to New Haven on the young season. Ivy League foe Dartmouth (4-2, 0-2) was the first victim Saturday morning, only claiming three games in the 8-1 Yale victory. A weary home squad headed back to the Brady Squash Center on a frigid Sunday afternoon, and still dispatched Williams (4-6) by the same score.
“It’s hard to say which opponent was tougher,” Moshe Sarfarty ’07 said. “Fatigue kicked in [Sunday] with Williams, and we went out there a little exhausted.”
Just a few days before in Williamstown, the Big Green had eked past the Ephs, 5-4. Yale’s No. 6 Andrew Vinci ’06 said the two foes’ strengths differed.
“Dartmouth was stronger at the top, Williams was deeper,” Vinci said. “But in the end, they were pretty closely matched.”
At the top spot Saturday, captain Julian Illingworth ’06 wasted little time putting away Dartmouth’s No. 1, Andrew Boumford, claiming the match in the first position Saturday three games to none. There were quick 3-0 victories at the three through nine spots, with the only bump in the second hole, where Bulldog Nick Chirls ’07 fell to the Big Green’s Todd Wood in four games.
But Chirls would come storming back the next afternoon. Williams’ Tony Maruca looked helpless at times in the No. 2 spot, succumbing to Chirls in three quick sets.
“Nick had a great match,” head coach Dave Talbott said. “He bounced back very nicely from yesterday.”
The fatigue was evident Sunday, even though a few players toward the bottom of the lineup sat out the second affair of the weekend. But it was the Ephs, with a walloping six games under their belt already in 2006, who played with considerably more wear and tear.
Illingworth knocked off Williams ace John Barry in three games, and the captain was one of six Elis to shut out their opponent. In the No. 3 spot, Sarfaty battled back from an early deficit to nearly topple opponent Morgan Phillips in the first set, but fell short. Sarfaty bounced back and handily won the next three to take the game, 3-1. Avner Geva ’06 would also need four frames to knock off his foe.
The lone defeat came at the No. 6 spot, where Andrew Vinci ’06, who had pummeled the Big Green’s Tyler Young on Saturday morning, fell to Tyler Kyle.
Despite the successful weekend, a relative cinch compared to the grueling 5-4 win over the Quakers in the Bulldogs last date of competitive play, Talbott saw room for improvement in Sunday’s win.
“We haven’t had a day off since Europe,” Talbott said. “And we definitely seemed a little flat [Sunday].”
Since returning from England last week, the team had not had a day off from practice going into the pair of matches over the weekend. Vinci said the upcoming stretch of schedule, with the national powerhouses coming up over the next few weeks, has made the first half of January unusually hectic.
“We’ve been gearing up for the Trinity match for a couple of weeks, and have Harvard and Princeton soon after that,” Vinci said. “We haven’t had a day off since leaving for England Dec. 27, and on top of that had a really tough week this week. We didn’t have legs under us, especially on Sunday.”
The team had a well-deserved day off yesterday, and looks to gear up for Cornell at Payne Whitney on Saturday.
“We definitely have to approach them much more carefully than in the past,” Vinci said. “They beat Princeton last year, and it’s only a matter of time before they have the capacity to beat other teams of that caliber.”