After a rigorous preseason, the men’s squash team steps back on the court Saturday for its first match of the season. The Bulldogs will take on Williams, which they beat in the 2008–’09 season 9–0.

Recently, the Elis took first in their annual Ivy Scrimmage, defeating Dartmouth 9–0, Brown 9–0, and rival Princeton 6–3.

“It let us know that we’re capable of beating Princeton,” Sharyar Aziz ’10 said. “It was a nice indicator of how hard we worked, but a scrimmage is not going to win us the Ivy Title.”

Last season, the Elis placed fifth in the CSA National Championships and placed second in the Ivy League after losing to Princeton, 7–2. This year, the Bulldogs are focused on the Ivy Title, especially after their preseason victory over the Tigers.

“This season we should definitely show ourselves and teams around the league how hard we’ve worked,” Aziz said. “We’ve made an effort to get in the best shape possible and always keep in mind that we need to be fit to really compete in the Ivy finals.”

Joining last year’s returning players are four members of the class of 2013. Already, the team’s youngest players are making a big impact. Three of the four will be in the top nine tomorrow, the fourth narrowly missing the cut.

“If we’re winning a national championship it’s going to be in large part because of them,” captain Todd Ruth ’10 said of the freshmen.

Ruth is working hard to unite the team on and off the courts, according to Aziz.

“Todd’s done a tremendous job bringing us together to achieve one goal,” he said. “He’s one of the best captains we’ve had in recent years.”

Looking ahead, the Elis anticipate tough matches against Princeton, Cornell, Rochester and Trinity. The Bulldogs are hoping that, bolstered by a strong group of returning players and talented newcomers, they can improve last season’s record and recapture the Ivy Title, according to Aziz.

“We pride ourselves in being a blue-collar team,” he said, referring to the team’s work ethic. “We just try to keep our heads down, work hard, and hopefully good things will happen.”

The match against Williams begins at 6 p.m. in the Brady Squash Center at Payne Whitney Gymnasium.