The No. 2 Yale men’s squash team cruised past No. 6 Harvard on Saturday night en route to its second consecutive Ivy League title for the first time in the team’s history.
The Bulldogs (13–1, 6–0 Ivy) defeated the Crimson (7–4, 3–3) 7–2 and prevented Princeton from having a share of the league title. Although the match did not have the excitement of their contest against No. 3 Princeton, the Elis made it clear that they were the better and fitter team from the beginning.
“The loss at Trinity really hurt and the way the team has bounced back after has been great,” captain Naishadh Lalwani ’11. “Its exciting to turn our attention to our goal of finishing the year as national champions.”
Richard Dodd ’13, John Roberts ’12 and Christopher Plimpton ’11 won their matches to get Yale off to a quick start.
Dodd and Roberts both won their matches in four close games while Plimpton brushed aside his opponent in straight games.
At the No. 3 position, Dodd dropped the second game 11–13 after coasting past Harvard’s Richard Hill in the first game. Though the competition stayed close for the remainder of the match, Dodd proved to be too strong for Hill.
Roberts dropped the third game as Harvard’s Nigel Koh fought to stay in every rally and forced Roberts to hit extra shots. However, Roberts defeated Koh in the fourth game 11–7.
“The hardest part was in the fourth trying to close it out,” Roberts said. “As it gets close to the end, it becomes hard to win points as he tries to stay in the match. The nerves begin to set in since you know what’s on the line.”
Ryan Dowd ’12, John Fulham ’11, and Lalwani then secured victories at the No. 8, No. 5, and No. 2 spots, respectively, to secure the team’s second consecutive Ivy League title.
“I completely believe that we have the strongest squash program in the country,” Lalwani said. “It’s clear that no team works as hard as we do and our success this season is due to all the work we do in the fall.”
Dowd and Fulham both won their matches in straight games and looked untroubled. For Fulham and the other seniors on the team, it was their last regular season match of their college careers.
Lalwani dismissed his opponent in straight games.
“We have a lot of talent, but everyone on this team has worked incredibly hard to achieve what we have,” Dowd said.
To Harvard’s credit, the Crimson won two of the remaining three matches despite guaranteed defeat. Hywel Robinson ’13 and Robert Berner ’12 lost their matches at the No. 1 and No. 7 spots, respectively. After winning the first game, Robinson dropped the next two consecutive games. However, he fought back to force a deciding fifth game. But Harvard’s Gary Power edged past Robinson in the final few points of the match, winning 12–10.
Kenneth Chan ’13 rounded out the wins for Yale with a victory at the No. 4 position, 3–1.
“It wasn’t that easy a match,” Chan said. “We came into the match confident and well prepared and dealt with business at Harvard to secure the Ivy title.”
After securing the title, players immediately began looking forward to the matches next week at the National Championships at Harvard.
“We have to make sure we get to Trinity first,” Robinson said. “There are a lot of tough teams in the national championships. But we have to get back on court first thing Monday morning.”
The men will return to action this weekend in the CSA National Championships at Harvard.