The No. 5 ranked Yale men’s team and the No. 4 women’s squash team hosted Penn and Princeton this weekend for an Ivy League doubleheader.
While the men (8–3, 3–1 Ivy) beat No. 10 Penn (7–5, 2–3) and No. 8 Princeton (5–5, 3–2) back-to-back, the women (8–3, 2–2) lost to their No. 2 Penn (11–1, 5–2) and No. 5 Princeton (8–2, 3–2) opponents.
The men’s 7–2 and 6–3 wins against the Quakers and Tigers have afforded Yale the opportunity to challenge Harvard for a share of the Ivy title. Yale currently has a 3–1 Ivy record, while No. 6 Harvard is 5–0. If the Bulldogs beat their Crimson counterparts this Friday and win their matches against Brown and Dartmouth — teams that have yet to win in conference play — Yale will share the Ivy title with Harvard and Columbia.
“Our goal at the beginning of the season was to be in a position going into the Harvard match to win an Ivy Title,” head coach David Talbott said. “After this weekend, and the loss of Columbia to Harvard, we have a chance to do that if we win on Wednesday, beat Harvard and close against Dartmouth. After losing two of our best players before the regular season, I am really proud that the men have put us in that spot after this weekend.”
The men’s depth was demonstrated in the match against Penn, in which the only losses came from the No. 3 and No. 9 spots. Against Princeton, Yale’s No. 1 Sam Fenwick ’16 and No. 2 T.J. Dembinski ’17 suffered the team’s only losses.
Pierson Broadwater ’18, playing in the No. 8 position, won exhausting five-game matches against both Penn and Princeton. After dropping the match point against his Princeton foe in the fourth game, Broadwater was able to rally and win the fifth game, clinching the victory for Yale.
“On both days, our number eight spot managed to win in two tough matches, which carried the momentum forward for the team going into the last round,” captain Joey Roberts ’15 said. “The team showed great character and strength to come through a very tough weekend with two wins.”
The women’s team had a disappointing weekend in which they lost 6–3 and 5–4 to the tough Penn and Princeton competition.
Despite the scores, Talbott was still pleased with his team’s performance. According to Talbott, the strong showing by Yale demonstrated how much the team has improved over the course of the season.
Annie Ballaine ’16, playing in the No. 7 position, was the only Bulldog to win her matches against both teams.
“We are tough[er] than most teams expect,” Ballaine said. “If, on a given day, we can all show up and play our best squash, we can go very far.”
The women are looking forward and trying to gain momentum against Brown this Wednesday and then Harvard on Friday. The Howe Cup, the year-end collegiate squash team championship, is wide open this season, and the squad hopes to avenge some of these losses and compete for the national title.
The men’s and women’s teams will host Brown this coming Wednesday at the Brady Squash Center in Payne Whitney.