The men’s and women’s squash teams will officially kick off the 2014–15 season this Saturday by hosting Franklin & Marshall.
The Diplomat men are currently ranked seventh in the nation and the women are ranked 17th. The Yale men’s and women’s teams are both ranked fourth in the nation.
The F&M women have a 4–2 record that features massive wins against weaker teams, such as Haverford and Dickinson, and losses against highly ranked Princeton and Columbia.
The women also recently dropped a 7–2 match to Columbia, the same team that Yale swept 9–0 at the Ivy Scrimmage. Last year, the Yale women went undefeated against Franklin & Marshall, winning all nine matches.
“We want to start off the season strong,” said Selena Maity ’18. “We want to put in hard work and use [this match] to give us energy for future matches.”
The coaches said they view this as an opportunity to see the progress the team has made since practices began earlier in the year.
The Diplomat men boast a 4–2 record, with wins coming from weaker Haverford, Bowdoin, Dickinson and Drexel teams. They have, however, dropped closer 6–3 and 5–4 matches to tough Ivy League competitors Princeton and Columbia, respectively.
Last weekend the men’s squad also lost a close 5–4 contest to Columbia — the same margin Yale defeated the Lions by at their Ivy scrimmage. As such, this match should be a test of the Eli’s talent and depth.
A year ago, the Bulldogs beat Franklin & Marshall 6–3 and later 7–2 at the National Championship.
“Playing well and winning gives us momentum and the goal Saturday is continuing that,” Edward Columbia ’18 said.
The weakness of the program so far, however, is the bout of injuries plaguing the Bulldogs.
In the finals of the Ivy Scrimmage, Kah Wah Cheong ’17 ruptured his Achilles tendon hitting the match-winning shot. Cheong had surgery four days later and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Last week the team learned that Zac Leman ’16 will require surgery for a bulged disc. Leman, too, will likely miss the remainder of the season.
Leman and Cheong were both top four players.
According to Columbia, some of the athletes are motivated by the injuries to concentrate on their training and improve their performance.
The injuries will test the Bulldogs’ youth, with five of the top 10 players being freshmen.
“The men’s team is now going to have to step up and figure out a way to win the Ivy League without two very key guys.” head coach David Talbot said in an email.
The Bulldogs will kick off the 2014–15 season at the Brady Squash Center on Dec. 6.