During winter break, the Yale men’s and women’s squash teams faced Williams, Columbia and Cornell, and the women’s team maintained its undefeated, 4–0 record.
Both teams routed their Purple Cow foes 9–0. The wins came as no surprise, as the Williams men’s and women’s teams are ranked 15th and 12th in the nation, respectively, whereas the Bulldogs rank third and fourth in the nation.
“The Williams match was a good test of where we stood after break and a good match to use to get back in the competitive mindset,” associate head coach Pamela Saunders said in an email. “It gave the coaches a baseline to know where we stood and how to structure practices.”
After a week of training — which included pressure sessions, match play and tactical drills — the teams began their New York road trip by traveling to Columbia this past Saturday.
The women’s team achieved their third consecutive 9–0 rout, sweeping the No. 9 ranked Columbia team for their first Ivy League match of the season.
The men’s team, however, was upset by the No. 6 ranked Columbia adversaries in a close 5–4 match. Wins by Thomas Kingshott ’18, Max Martin ’18, Pierson Broadwater ’18 and Arjun Kochhar ’18 at the number five, six, eight and nine positions gave the Bulldogs a chance to win, but a close 12–10, 11–8, 11–7 match between Columbia’s Arhum Saleem and Yale’s Joseph Roberts ’15 clinched the match for the Lions.
“The loss to Columbia yesterday was heart breaking, but a good learning experience,” Saunders said.
The next day the teams traveled north to Ithaca, New York, where the men and women beat Cornell 7–2 and 6–3 respectively.
Earlier in the season the men lost Kah Wah Cheong ’17 and Zac Leman ’16 due to injuries.
“As disappointing as our result was against Columbia I think it was a valiant effort, as playing without your number two and three is very tough, and to still make the match competitive with five freshmen in the lineup is incredible,” Saunders said. “With every match out freshmen gain experience, and this makes us confident that we can reverse our losses and succeed at the national [championships].”
The Big Red women’s and men’s teams are ranked sixth and seventh in the nation, respectively.
The men’s win keeps the Bulldogs in the race for the Ivy title.
“I thought that the team as a whole did well this weekend keeping up morale after disappointing loss,” Broadwater said.
The women’s win over a relatively strong team gives them confidence going forward. The Bulldogs won at the number two, three, four, five, eight and nine positions.
Next weekend the women look to replicate their three-win week, hosting No. 7 ranked Stanford, No. 16 ranked Middlebury and No. 20 ranked St. Lawrence.
The men will have a challenging weekend, facing the No. 4 and No. 1 ranked Rochester and St. Lawrence squads.
The month of January will test the Bulldogs, as both teams will play eight matches, followed by two more in early February.
“It’ll just be five weeks of intense squash and it’ll be over.” Says Shiyuan Mao ’17. “This year it’s really competitive; Princeton, Penn, Harvard and Trinity all have really strong teams but we are definitely capable of taking them on as long as we continue to work as we are doing now.”
The first of these matches will take place on Jan. 17 in the Brady Squash Center at Payne Whitney Gym.