In the next week, the squash program will face five nationally ranked teams — an opportunity for the Bulldogs to set the tone for the rest of the season.
This Saturday the Yale men’s squash team (3–1, 1–1 Ivy) will host the University of Rochester squad (5–1). The Yale women’s team (4–0, 2–0 Ivy) will host both Middlebury (6–1) and Stanford (3–3) on Saturday, as well. Yale will then host both St. Lawrence’s men’s and women’s teams, which have records of 7–0 and 2–1, respectively, on Sunday.
This weekend will test the No. 3 ranked men’s squad’s strength and depth, as they host the No. 4 and No. 1 ranked teams back-to-back.
Despite the losses of Kah Wah Cheong ’17 and Zac Leman ’16 due to injuries earlier in the season, as well as a disappointing weekend in which the team dropped a match to Ivy rival Columbia, head coach David Talbott still believes that the team has enough talent to find five wins in the lineup.
“Injuries are part of any season, and the key is to move past it and everyone to step up their game,” Talbott wrote in an email to the News. “We feel we have done that and are prepared to meet the challenge.”
In preparation for the match, the team has been focusing on correcting the weaknesses evident last weekend according to Talbott. These include doing a better job controlling the center of the court, volleying more and being more effective when taking the ball in short. The team needs to play with patience and cut down on unforced errors.
Although the Elis face a formidable challenge, head coach David Talbott is confident his team can win.
“We have the depth to do that, but have to play our best throughout the line-up,” Talbott said. “We cannot afford to have any player in any spot not perform to their maximum capability.”
The young team will boast five freshmen and two sophomores in the top nine.
“I’m a little nervous but we match up well with them at every spot. We know we’re the harder working team,” Peter Dewire ’16 said.
The women’s, meanwhile, team hopes to remain undefeated this weekend, as well as regain their confidence and aggressiveness after winter break.
The three opponents this weekend will give the team such opportunities. Middlebury is ranked No. 16, Stanford is ranked No. 6 and St. Lawrence is ranked No. 20.
According to Talbott, Stanford will be the toughest opponent for the women’s team because they have considerable depth and are looking to move up in the rankings.
Incidentally, Stanford is coached by Mark Talbott, a relative of Yale’s head coach.
“The keys to winning are playing with confidence and capitalizing on our fitness and taking advantage of openings that our opponents give us,” Talbott said.
The expectation is to sweep these matches and prepare for an upcoming matchup against perennial rival Trinity next Wednesday according to Dewire.
Between Jan. 6 and Feb. 6, the men’s and the women’s team will play 10 and 11 matches, respectively.
“The team is used to playing the competitive season and big matches close together and have prepared accordingly,” said Talbott. “This is the nature of the college season which makes fitness and mental toughness key to success.”
The first match will be on Jan. 17 at the Brady Squash Center.