Following a pair of decisive 8–1 losses to in-state rival Trinity, the Yale men’s and women’s squash teams aim to bounce back this weekend by hosting five different opponents over the span of just two days.
Both teams will host George Washington Friday night, while the women will also play Stanford earlier that day. The Eli men and women will then square off against Navy and Middlebury, respectively, on Saturday before both facing Williams.
The No. 4 women’s (6–1, 3–0 Ivy) 8–1 upset loss to No. 6 Trinity was their first of the season, while the No. 6 men’s (5–2, 3–0) loss by the same score was their second of the season and second-consecutive loss after falling 5–4 to No. 5 Rochester last Sunday. The Bulldogs, however, expect better results this weekend against opponents that should largely pose less of a challenge than their recent competition.
“We are looking forward to getting back into competition this weekend after a tough loss last week,” Georgia Blatchford ’16 said. “Trinity was really tough, but we learned a lot from the match and look forward to potentially crossing paths with them again in the postseason tournament.”
The most testing match of the weekend will be the women’s against No. 5 Stanford, Blatchford said. Last weekend in a bird-bird face-off, the Cardinal was able to top the Trinity Bantams 5–4 just after Yale’s loss to the same team. Stanford also won by a score of 7–2 over Columbia, which the Bulldogs topped 8–1 earlier this season.
The No. 13 George Washington, No. 15 Middlebury and No. 11 Williams women’s squads are expected to be less serious competition for the Elis. The real challenge for the Bulldogs, rather, will be their schedules: in a period only slightly longer than 24 hours, the Yale women will play four matches and the men will play three.
“Playing four matches in a weekend is going to be exhausting, but we have put a lot of work into our fitness, both on and off the court, so I am confident our endurance will hold up into our final matches,” Blatchford said.
With matches against No. 13 George Washington, No. 14 Navy and No. 18 Williams, the Yale men will face similarly light competition.
Last year Yale beat George Washington, Navy and Williams by scores 8–1, 8–1 and 9–0, respectively. Despite the expected wins, the players said the weekend will be key for the Bulldogs to regain momentum after a pair of losses.
“This weekend is a great opportunity for us to get back competing and hopefully get a few wins to carry us into the last couple weeks of the season, where we finish with four-straight Ivy League encounters,” Zac Leman ’16 said. “Obviously the last two matches didn’t go as we had hoped, but despite the losses, our morale has stayed high.”
Those final four regular-season matches will feature both men’s and women’s contests with Ivy foes Princeton, Penn, Dartmouth and Harvard over the course of eight days.
Both Eli squads are perfect against Ancient Eight competition thus far, but Penn, Harvard and Dartmouth rank No. 2, 3 and 4, respectively, making the end of the Ivy season much more difficult than the first half. The morale boost from a strong performance this weekend could be just what the Bulldogs need to capture the title that has evaded both teams since the 2010–11 season.
“Our current goal is [to win] the Ivy, and we are in a great position to accomplish our goal,” TJ Dembinski ’17 said.
The women open play 2:30 p.m. this Friday at the Brady Squash Center against Stanford, and both teams will face off against George Washington later that night at 7:30 p.m.