After returning to New Haven for practice more than two weeks before the start of classes, the Yale men’s and women’s squash teams quickly returned to form with seven wins in eight matches.
Both teams won at home against Ivy foes Cornell and Columbia, and the No. 2 men (5–1, 3–0 Ivy) moved on to top St. Lawrence and fall to Rochester during a weekend road trip that head coach David Talbott called “as tough a one as you can have in college squash.” The No. 4 women (6–0, 3–0), meanwhile, handily dealt with Amherst and Hamilton in a pair of 9–0 victories.
“With all the training we have done over the past month, we are playing really good squash and feel confident about our games moving forward,” No. 1 Jenny Scherl ’17 said.
The women’s perfect winter break began on Jan. 9 with a dominant sweep of No. 7 Cornell, followed by an 8–1 victory over No. 8 Columbia the next day. In the Bulldogs’ wins over No. 16 Amherst and No. 19 Hamilton the following Saturday, Yale saw only one of the 18 matches go beyond three games.
Heading into a home match against No. 6 Trinity on Wednesday, the Yale women have suffered only two individual match losses in six team wins.
“The team was playing really well and got to work on different tactics that will come in handy on Wednesday,” Scherl said.
The men’s 8–1 victory over No. 12 Cornell saw six of the nine matches won by Yale in just three games, including in five of the top six spots on the ladder. The Bulldogs’ 7–2 victory over No. 8 Columbia demonstrated an improvement from last season, when the team lost 5–4 to the Lions twice.
Yale’s next two matches proved more of a challenge, as Yale defeated No. 6 St. Lawrence by a score of 6–3 — the team’s closest win of the season -— before dropping a 5–4 decision against No. 7 Rochester.
“It was a long weekend on the road,” said Pierson Broadwater ’18, whose individual win clinched Yale’s victory over St. Lawrence. “We knew going into it that it was going to be tough, but coming off of our win against Columbia we felt confident. Saturday [against St. Lawrence] we all played great squash up and down the lineup.”
Though St. Lawrence took the top three matches, the Bulldogs’ depth proved key as they swept the bottom six. Talbott noted that St. Lawrence boasts three of the top players in collegiate squash, including Amr Khalifa, who placed second in the 2013–14 individual collegiate championships.
The next day against Rochester, the Elis once again saw success at the bottom half of the team, with wins coming from the No. 5, 6, 8 and 9 positions, but they were unable to pry a win from any of Rochester’s top four.
Tied 4–4, the contest came down to the final match at the No. 4 position between Yale’s Kah Wah Cheong ’17 and Rochester freshman Tomotaka Endo. Cheong won a tight 13–11 match in the third game to take a 2–1 lead, but ultimately fell in the next two to give Endo the victory.
“[We’re] still on track with goals of winning an Ivy League Championship and taking a shot at the year-end National Championship,” Talbott said. “Rochester will be one of five to six teams that can win the tournament.”
For now, the Bulldogs have their sights set on perennial rival Trinity, which they will host this Wednesday night in the Brady Squash Center. Both teams start play at 6 p.m.