The Yale men’s squash team proved it is still a force to be reckoned with after a 9–0 win over Brown in the team’s Ivy opener.
Coming off a sweep of No. 13 Franklin & Marshall in its first match of the season just three days prior, the No. 2 Yale men’s squash team (2–0, 1–0) served up another trouncing, this time against No. 16 Brown (0–1, 0–1 Ivy). The match marks Yale’s first conference win, as the defending Ivy champions look to guard their title.
“We really wanted to come out strong today for our first Ivy League match,” No. 3 Liam McClintock ’17 said. “You had to bring your best and we all did. We only dropped one game … but the rest of the guys were top-notch today and we’d like to use this going forward.”
Eight of the nine matches were decided in the minimum three games, with just one player losing a single game. Playing No. 5 for the blue, Thomas Kingshott ’18 dropped his first game in a narrow 11–9 contest before settling in and winning three consecutive games 11–5, 11–4, 11–6. Captain TJ Dembinski ’17 harvested a trio of 11–6 tallies in the No. 2 seed, and his teammate McClintock rocked his opponent 11–4, 11–7, 11–8.
This victory is the third consecutive contest the Bulldogs have swept the Bears and the sixth sweep in seven years.
“I think it shows the team is looking really solid right now,” No. 9 Yohan Pandole ’19 said. “We’ve put in a lot of work over the fall, and we’re clearly seeing the dividends. We saw it on Saturday against F&M and today against Brown with a clean sweep. We’ve just got to take the momentum going forward into January and see where that takes us.”
The team will not compete again until Jan. 10, when it hosts No. 3 Rochester (3–0, 0–0 Liberty League) for a rematch of last season’s national championship. In February, Yale edged out a tight 5–4 victory to claim the team’s first national title in 16 years.
Between now and then, the Bulldogs have much to cover over the holiday season. The athletes have 10 days of rest before returning to campus Jan. 2 to begin two weeks of intense training.
Dembinski, as well as head coach Dave Talbott, noted that the break in the middle of the season poses challenges for the players.
“It is what it is,” Talbott said. “It’s like two separate seasons. Our challenge is to make sure we’re not peaking. We want to be at our best in January, and you’ve just got to not lose your momentum and fitness, too.”
The break is particularly challenging for the team’s international athletes, such as Pandole of Mumbai, India, who must acclimate to time change and jet lag.
Despite the fatigue of such travel, however, Pandole expressed excitement in coming back to campus in January.
“It was one of the most fun two-week periods of my year,” he said, reflecting on last season. “It’s great team bonding, just hanging out and playing matches, getting to live the life of a professional athlete.”
The Elis will face their next conference opponent, Cornell, on Jan. 14.