The Yale men’s squash team demolished Brown on Tuesday night in Providence, marking the Bulldog’s third consecutive win in an undefeated regular season.
No. 9 Yale (3–0) traveled to Providence for the match, and returned relatively unscathed. The Bulldogs defeated No. 20 Brown (0–1) in a demoralizing 8–1 finish, ending their first month of the season with a spotless record. Yale’s first four seeded players all defeated their respective opponents in three games. The Elis will not play again until Jan. 7.
“The team has stepped up a lot and is playing at a higher level than we played all last season,” head coach Dave Talbott said. “Our level is closer to 2016 when we won the Ivy and national championship.”
Coming straight off of a high-intensity weekend consisting of two away matches against No. 7 Drexel and No. 16 Franklin & Marshall, Max Martin ’18 said he recognizes the difficulty in maintaining the stamina to cover three away games. However, the Bulldogs showed no signs of weakness or fatigue on the court as they brought home three wins in a five-day span. Yale bested Drexel with a 6–3 overall score last Friday, and followed with a clean sweep against Franklin & Marshall the next day.
Historically, Yale has bested Brown in every matchup dating back to 2010, as far back as the program’s record books span. Of these consecutive wins over the last seven years, the team secured five of the victories via clean sweep. The other two matches allowed Brown a total of only three game wins, producing a combined score of 60–3.
Yale used the Brown match to hone its fundamentals and to test different methods of play for the season to come. The match took place before the bulk of the season, allowing the Elis to analyze their play and improve individual skills before facing more competitive and higher-ranked teams in January and February.
“This match was a good opportunity to work on some of the things we needed improvement on from over the weekend,” Martin said. “People took this opportunity to make small, personal adjustments to their games, and they tried things out that didn’t work well for them over the weekend to improve their game for future weekends.”
The Bulldogs plan to focus extra attention and skill towards teams which pose greater challenges, such as No. 5 Penn and No. 6 Rochester, both of which battle Yale in January. If Yale can defeat these highly competitive squads, it will build a stellar case for being ranked in the top eight of the College Squash Association. Placement in the top eight secures a team’s place in the national championships in mid-February.
Yale’s entire lineup fought valiantly, losing only a single match in the No. 9 spot. The upper half of the lineup fared particularly well in their matchups. No. 3 Harrison Gill ’21 bested Brown’s Nicholas Pitaro in three games in which Pitaro scored a total of 10 points. Gill played first in the day, setting a strong tone for the rest of the team to feed on. Aside from Gill, No. 8 Yohan Pandole ’20 pulled out a win after battling through a five-game match against Brown’s Palak Goel. After going down 2–1, Pandole fought back in the final two frames to take the match.
The Bulldogs will wait more than a month for their next matches, against Amherst and Williams. They plan to use this recess to recuperate and continue training. The team’s original No. 1-seeded player, Spencer Lovejoy ’20, has missed the past three matches due to appendicitis, but will return to the court in time for the January slate.
“Winter break is where we will make our improvements because the lack of schoolwork allows us to commit to training hard two to three times a day, eating healthy, and focusing on our squash without any distractions,” captain Thomas Kingshott ’18 said. “We are really motivated as a team to push each other this break.”
Yale resumes its season Jan. 7 against both Amherst and Williams.
Lauren Cueto | firstname.lastname@example.org