At the end of the 2017–18 regular season, the Yale men’s squash team battled uphill to secure a spot in the upcoming CSA Team Championships, but ultimately the team fell to its higher ranked Ivy foes.
No. 9 Yale (8–8, 2–5 Ivy) battled No. 3 Harvard (11–1, 6–1) on Friday and No. 5 Dartmouth (11–4, 4–3) on Sunday. But in a weekend of high-level competition, the Bulldogs fell to both in 9–0 and 6–3 decisions, respectively.
“Even though the season did not go as we wanted, there are a lot of things the underclassmen can build off for the coming years,” No. 1 Spencer Lovejoy ’20 said. “We worked hard this season, but this finish to the season shows us how much more we have to do and how we must adjust our training in the future.”
Yale faced its ancient rival Harvard this past Friday at the Brady Courts. The last home match until next season, the match with the Crimson revealed the deficiencies in the Bulldog lineup, as six of the nine matches were decided in three games. This match marks Yale’s first shutout defeat of the 2017–18 season and Harvard’s first shutout victory against Yale in a decade.
No. 2 Harrison Gill ’21 lost a grueling match to his Harvard counterpart. The five-game match consisted of lengthy sets that highlighted Gill’s endurance and eclectic shots. He started out two games ahead but then lost the last three in an intense sequence of 8–11, 10–12 and 10–12 decisions.
“The Harvard match showed to us the level that we have to strive for in subsequent years — they have built a fantastic program, with great players and culture,” Gill said. “We must train harder and be better competitors in order to win against the best teams in the nation.”
Spencer Lovejoy also played a five-framed match, three frames of which went past the 11-point threshold. Following Lovejoy, Kingshott was edged in a four-game decision. In a close matchup, the captain evened the tally after a 13–11 win, but then lost the final two frames 11–8 and 11–9. The remaining Elis fell to their counterparts in games of three.
Yale returned to play on Sunday to finish out its regular season with a matchup against Dartmouth.
“The team got off to a slow start going down 3–0 in overall matches and from there it was us trying to claw our way back,” Lovejoy said. “We had some good matches in the next rounds of play, but overall, I felt the energy we had didn’t quite meet what the Dartmouth team was throwing at us at every position; we fought as hard as we could but couldn’t manage to close out a few key matches.”
Yale notched wins from Lovejoy, Gill and No. 7 Yohan Pandole ’20. Lovejoy came back from a first game loss to defeat his foe in four games. Gill outperformed his counterpart in a three-set victory, yielding decisive 11–5, 11–5 and 11–7 decisions. Pandole took his Big Green opponent to four games, capturing the victory with a 12–10 fourth frame. The remaining Elis in the lineup played tough games that could have gone either way.
Before the Harvard matchup began on Friday, Yale took time to recognize the six seniors participating in their final home matches. No. 5 Pierson Broadwater ’18, Tripp Kaelin ’18, No. 6 and captain Thomas Kingshott ’18, No. 4 Arjun Kochhar ’18, No. 3 Max Martin ’18 and Nader Rastegar ’18 were commended for their dedication and efforts in the squash program.
While reflecting on the turnout of the season, the team regarded the Dartmouth match as a landmark — a sign of where its abilities are and how it might improve in the future. growth in agility, endurance and on-court decision making and said they will leave the regular season focused on developing their younger talent.
On Feb. 22, Trinity College will host the annual College Squash Association Team Championships, at which the top eight teams will compete for the Potter Cup. Yale finished its season one spot out of contention for the tournament.
Yale last took home the CSA Championship in the 2015–16 season.
Lauren Cueto | firstname.lastname@example.org