Yale Athletics

The Bulldogs’ hosted Trinity — the top-ranked team in the country —for their inaugural home match of the season on Wednesday night, ultimately succumbing to the Bantams in a hotly contested fight.

While the evening yielded a 6–3 loss for the records, the No. 8 Yale men’s squash team brought a level of intensity and grit that drove the game count up and wore Trinity’s endurance down over the course of the matchup.

“We knew Trinity was going to be a tough match so we had to throw everything we had at them to succeed, but also to play smart,” No. 1 Spencer Lovejoy ’20 said. “We played with a lot of heart and passion out there and I am very proud of everyone for pushing hard out there today.”

Yale’s overall performance was buoyed by several individual successes. No. 2 Harrison Gill ’21 came back from a two-game deficit to secure the win in five games. No. 4 Arjun Kochhar ’18 battled through a tight series of three games before triumphing in the fourth game in an overwhelming 11–1 domination. No. 9 Jay Losty ’19 earned his win in a close 12–10 win in the fourth game.

The Elis strategized with the goal of attacking Trinity in a calculated but aggressive manner. While the Bulldogs were ultimately outmatched, Yale’s competitiveness is evident through the match details and close games.

“A passive style of play was not going to win us the match, and playing aggressive in our movement and shots was key to our success in some of the matches yesterday,” captain Thomas Kingshott ’18 said. “Against the number one team in the country, it was important to get them out of their comfort zone. I think we did that very well.”

While the squad managed to secure only three wins out of nine, the evening was something of a success, given Trinity’s dominance throughout the 2017–18 season. Ranked number one nationally, the Bantams hold an undefeated record with two-thirds of their wins coming in shutouts. Yale is the only team to have achieved more than one win against Trinity this season; Navy recorded one win the weekend before. Thus, Yale proved to be Trinity’s toughest competition this season, giving the squad insight about how it might challenge future opponents such as Navy, Columbia and Dartmouth.

Even in losses, the Bulldogs proved to be formidable opponents, often coming within reach of upset victories. Three Elis pushed their Trinity counterparts to five games and another three Bulldogs finished their matches in four.

Lovejoy competed in an especially riveting five-game contest. The match went back and forth until the final frame, in which Lovejoy nearly clinched the win in a devastating 16–14 upset. Alongside Lovejoy, No. 3 Max Martin ’18 battled in a five-game match of his own, only to have the win slip away in a deafening 11–8 loss.

“Five-game matches are always brutal mentally as well as physically,” Lovejoy said. “I try to maintain a calm mind-set and focus on the present point and executing my game plan during this point. If I can stay in the present moment, it helps to rid me of all my other worries such as nerves and fatigue.”

This match marks the fifth interval in a losing streak for the Elis. They have two upcoming chances to break the chain against opponents George Washington and Navy this Saturday in a doubleday squash extravaganza. It is imperative for the team to succeed in both games in order to maintain its No. 8 ranking. As both teams are ranked lower than the Bulldogs, losing to either opponent would jeopardize its membership in the Division I rankings, a bracket reserved for the top eight teams in the country.

Yale returns to the Brady Center this Saturday to face George Washington at 10 a.m., followed by Navy at 4 p.m.

Lauren Cueto | lauren.cueto@yale.edu