The Patriots aren’t the only undefeated New England team.
The men’s squash team won both of its matches on Saturday against Wesleyan and Amherst by perfect 9-0 margins, improving its unblemished season record to 5-0. After squeaking by Penn, 5-4, in the season opener, the Elis have combined to win 35 of their past 36 games.
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“It was nice to get some more matches under our belt,” Francis Johnson ’09 said. “Especially after a tough week [of practice], just playing a lot of matches is good.”
The Bulldogs were the very definition of perfection on Saturday. In both matches, every Eli swept his opponent in three games, allowing the Bulldogs to finish the day with a 54-0 advantage in games won. In the first contest of the new year, the Elis put away Wesleyan with help from rookies John Fulham ’11, Naishadh Lalwani ’11 and Michael Maruca ’11. Both Lalwani and Maruca won their matches without dropping a single point. Against Amherst, the freshmen sat as sophomores Aaron Fuchs ’10, Rusty Feldman ’10 and Christopher Reid ’10 easily put away the Lord Jeffs.
“We were tremendously focused. And we’re starting to peak at just the right time,” Ethan Oetter ’09 said.
Although the Bulldogs traditionally return to campus two weeks before classes start for two-a-day practices, this year’s winter practices had a distinctively new flavor. The Elis brought in renowned squash coach Damon Brown to help them improve on conditioning and footwork.
“We had a movement expert for the first two days,” Oetter said. “He taught us how to move more effectively on the court. We did a lot of base training for the matches coming up.”
Brown is one of the leading training specialists in England and has coached seven World Championship teams. In addition, he continues to provide training to two Britons ranked in the top 10 in international squash. The team hopes the extra work with Brown will pay off as the Elis prepare for next week’s matches against Cornell, Dartmouth and Trinity.
“We’re gearing up for the bulk of our schedule now,” Feldman said. “It’s good to know that you still have a shot at the Ivy League title heading into the Princeton and Harvard matches.”
Last year, the Bulldogs dropped their first match of the season to Penn, 6-3. The early loss meant that the Elis had to beat both Harvard and Princeton to win the Ivy League championship.
Pulling off the sweep is no easy accomplishment, as both the Crimson and the Tigers consistently field some of the nation’s best teams. The Bulldogs were on the wrong end of the sweep last year, losing to both Harvard and Princeton by a combined score of 13-5.
With a month to go before the showdown against Harvard, the Elis will look to maintain their perfect record against Rochester on Friday before taking on Cornell and Dartmouth in the Bulldogs’ first Ivy League contests in the new year.