Yale Athletics

A pair of dominant wins for the Yale men’s squash team jump-started the season as the Elis look to regain their status as national championship contenders.

On Friday, the No. 9 Bulldogs (2–0) kicked off the season by besting No. 7 Drexel (2–4) in a 6–3 overall. Following the debut win, Yale returned to the courts the next day to sweep No. 16 Franklin and Marshall (1–6) 9–0. The pair of wins created a wave of optimism for the Elis heading further into the season.

“Across the board we all played really well,” captain and No. 5 Thomas Kingshott ’18 said. “We all had the desire and the fight to win these matches, and that’s something you can’t really teach on the court.”

Last weekend’s performance on the road is a hopeful indicator that the Elis can handle away matches better than they did last year. In the 2016–17 season, the team suffered through two four-game road losing streaks. Only time will tell if last year’s trend will carry into this season, as Yale prepares to hit the road for its next seven games.

The Drexel win avenged last season’s disappointing January defeat, when the match came down to one point at the conclusion of the No. 1 spots’ three-hour match. Adding to the Elis’ frustration, they fell again to the Dragons in an identical 5–4 battle at the College Squash Association team championships.

“Drexel also has a lineup at a similar level to a lot of teams that we will be looking to get crucial wins over,” No. 3 Harrison Gill ’21 said. “It is good indicator that we can perform in big matches this year.”

The Elis showcased their depth by performing well across the lineup against Drexel, as they racked up wins at the Nos. 3 through 6 spots as well as at No. 8 and 9. Kingshott pulled out an impressive win in four games. No. 2 Max Martin ’18 fought ferociously against Drexel star Bransten Ming as well, and although he did not record a win for his efforts, he pushed Ming to 11–9 in the fifth match.

The Bulldogs had to push themselves extra hard this weekend as their No. 1 Spencer Lovejoy ’20 missed the game due to appendicitis. Despite the extra pressure brought on by the ailment, the Elis stepped up and performed well.

“Except for losing our No. 1 player to appendicitis, which put us at a disadvantage, we got the two wins, and that was our goal,” Jonathan Kovac ’19 said. “Last year, our team had many moments of hesitance, but this year we just went out there and crushed them.”

Riding the win from Drexel, the talented lineup performed exceedingly well as Yale went on to dominate Franklin & Marshall in a full sweep. The wins from across the lineup against the Diplomats demonstrated every player’s competitive skill level. Kingshott had a particularly exciting five-game match, although the fifth frame lacked the competitiveness of the early games as the Eli captain cruised to an 11–3 win. Kingshott’s strong performance secured the Elis the win for the day with four spots still to play.

As the team travels to Providence this week to battle Brown, they will ride off last weekend’s performance. Yale most recently faced the Bears during last season’s regular season, when the Elis swept them in a 9–0 victory.

Yale will face Brown this Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.

Lauren Cueto | lauren.cueto@yale.edu