After falling to two of the nation’s seven best teams last weekend, the No. 8 Yale men’s squash team faced two more squads ranked above it in the College Squash Association. And in their eighth and ninth straight matches away from home to open the season, the Bulldogs posted another winless weekend.
The Elis (5–4, 1–2 Ivy) lost 7–2 to No. 3 St. Lawrence (6–2) on Saturday and fell 6–3 to No. 6 Rochester (3–2) on Sunday to extend their losing streak to four.
“It was a tough weekend for the team,” Harrison Gill ’21 said. “We came into Rochester playing the day before and a lot of the guys killed themselves on the court the day before, but came back ready to give it all again. We had a will to push even when there wasn’t much left in the tank.”
Facing St. Lawrence, Yale stepped up to the impending contest with two match wins from lower-ranked players No. 8 Yohan Pandole ’19 and No. 9 Jay Losty ’19. However, their success was not enough to carry the team to a victory.
Rather than an angled defense strategy to counter the Saints’ strong offensive play, Yale aimed to force St. Lawrence to earn its points through endurance and poise. This method proved worthwhile, as the Bulldogs took four of their opponents to matches over the three-game minimum. However, several errors and a failure to score points tipped the results in St. Lawrence’s favor.
Yale faced a quick turnaround after Saturday’s discouraging play as the team traveled to Rochester the next day.
“For Rochester, the Yale men need to counter with more offensive pressure,” head coach Dave Talbott said before the match. “Rochester is ranked two spots above Yale and is an important match moving toward the year-end National Championships.”
In a four-hour competition, Yale fell to the Yellowjackets in a 6–3 finish. No. 1 Spencer Lovejoy ’20, No. 7 Tyler Carney ’21 and No. 8 Yohan Pandole ’19 all claimed wins for the Elis. Max Martin ’18, Arjun Kochhar ’18 and Pierson Broadwater ’18 took their foes to the five games, but ended up dropping the final and decisive games.
Despite those blows, the team maintained a positive outlook.
“Though the score shows that we lost, our quality of play is improving with each match,” Lovejoy said. “In the end I feel like these losses will help us perform better at the end of the season when it counts for more; we have what it takes skills-wise to beat the best team, but, mentally, we need to improve during the pressure points that often decide the match.”
The Rochester match marked the end of a season away from home. Historically, tiresome series of away matches have had a negative impact on the team. Last season’s string of matches on the road brought with it four losses as well. Now, Yale will spend time at home and focus on its play without the strain of travel that has burdened the team since the beginning of the season.
“It’s always tough playing away from home,” Gill said. “Although we have had a tough away stretch in the last four matches, we now have a stretch of six home matches and winnable ones at that.”
Despite losing both matches this past weekend, Yale’s No. 8 standing is unlikely to be affected. So long as the Bulldogs do not fall to any team lower than their ranking, they should maintain a spot in Division One, a bracket designed explicitly for the top eight teams.
Yale hits the Brady Courts in the year’s first home match against Trinity on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Lauren Cueto | firstname.lastname@example.org