Talk about bouncing back.
After a disappointing loss last week to No. 2 Princeton, the Bulldogs took out their frustration against No. 15 Brown en route to a commanding 9-0 victory over the weekend.
With archrival No. 3 Harvard coming into town Wednesday, the sweep gave the Elis a needed confidence boost heading into the showdown against the Crimson.
“Coming off the loss versus Princeton, we were all disappointed in how we performed,” John Fulham ’11 said. “But this match was a good match to get our confidence back up. We all realized how well we can play on a good day.”
Fulham and Naishadh Lalwani ’11 turned in two of the most dominating performances of the afternoon, as the two freshmen combined to give up only three points. Fulham won, 9-1, 9-1 and 9-0, at the No. 3 spot while Lalwani defeated Chester Hall, 9-1, 9-0 and 9-0, at No. 9 to record his first career Ivy League victory.
“They’ve really grown as players, and they’re helping us out tremendously,” Ethan Oetter ’09 said of Fulham and Lalwani. “It’s a pretty stellar freshman class. If we didn’t have those guys, we would have been a lot weaker as a team this year.”
Lalwani was not the only player with something special to celebrate. Captain Moshe Sarfaty ’08 entertained his parents with a 3-1 defeat of Patrick Davis. Sarfaty’s parents, who live in Israel, had never seen their son play college squash. With only a few weeks left in his collegiate squash career, Sarfaty took advantage of the rare opportunity and recorded a victory with his parents cheering him on.
“It was great,” Sarfaty said. “My mom has never watched me play squash before, because when I was a kid, she didn’t like seeing me play. She was too nervous about all my matches, and that was the first time she watched the whole match.”
It was a good first match to watch. After dropping the first game, 6-9, Sarfaty shook off the rust and won the next three, 9-7, 9-3 and 9-1.
Although the loss to Princeton effectively eliminated the Bulldogs from the Ivy League title chase, barring a Patriots-esque collapse by the Tigers, the Elis still have an opportunity to finish third in the national rankings for the fourth time in nine years. With only the showdown against Harvard left on the schedule before the national-championship tournament, the commanding victory over Brown was the Elis’ last tune-up heading into the season’s final weeks.
“We went down there, and we took care of business,” Sarfaty said. “It definitely helped us bring back the confidence we need to play well against Harvard this week.”
Harvard is not the Bulldogs’ only concern. With midterm season coinciding with the end of the squash season, the Elis called a team meeting Sunday to emphasize the importance of remaining focused in the final two weeks.
“The schedule is tough,” Oetter said, “especially considering it’s midterms week for most of the guys on the team. It forces us to be that much more focused and disciplined.”