After a disappointing end to last season and a summer of rebuilding and training, the Yale men’s squash team returned to the Brady Squash Center with a vengeance, beating Drexel 8–1.
The No. 8 Bulldogs (1–0, 0–0 Ivy) dominated No. 9 Drexel (3–3, 0–0 CAA) in a statement season opener last Friday. The commanding 8–1 team victory resulted from comprehensive teamwork, quality match play across the entire lineup and a driven mentality.
“Though we had to settle for 8–1, I was really happy with the way everyone took a professional approach to their matches. Each guy got on the court and was focused 100 percent from the first to last point and wasn’t distracted by anything they couldn’t control,” No. 1 seed Spencer Lovejoy ’20 said. “This type of focus is something we will continue to work on and will need for our future matches. We enjoyed this win, but it’s right back to work now on the things we can all individually still improve.”
While Yale was generally dominant, No. 5 Tyler Carney ’21 could not get into a good rhythm against the Dragons. Though Carney gained speed in a narrow 11–9 loss in the second game, he could not build momentum and ultimately lost 3–0.
Tenacious No. 3 Harrison Gill ’21 battled a five-game fight that attracted spectators throughout the Brady Squash Center. After taking the first two games confidently with 11–7 and 11–5 scorelines, Gill lost the next two, 11–8 and 11–9. After consulting with assistant coach Tim Lasusa, Gill reconfigured his game strategy and returned to obliterate Drexel 11–4 in the fifth game. While Gill spent the majority of his rookie season seeded second, he now sits third behind rookie Nadav Raziel ’22.
“We went into the match with the aim of winning every single spot, however, winning eight matches was a really good result too,” Parth Bhatia ’20 said. “Overall, most of the boys had a really good showing, and it was a great way to make a statement at the beginning of the season.”
Raziel defeated his opponent in a five-game contest that swung back and forth. The match marked Raziel’s first competitive win in his collegiate career. He joins the Bulldogs already boasting an Israeli juniors national champion title.
Raziel was not the only first year to appear in the starting lineup. No. 6 Eric Kim ’22 and No. 7 Tiber Worth ’22 also made their collegiate squash debuts on Friday. Both bested their opponents in four-game and three-game contests, respectively. Worth performed particularly well and only allowed his opponent to score a collective 10 points throughout the match.
Overall, team members were happy with the Drexel win but remained unsatisfied with their inability to sweep the Dragons. Lovejoy relayed that his team holds itself to a 9–0 expectation for all matches and that the Elis will focus on improving individual skills to increase match outcomes. This Wednesday, the Bulldogs get another chance to dominate across the roster in their first Ivy League match of the year against Brown. After the Drexel shutdown, Yale should have the momentum to gain a similar outcome against the Bears and set itself on a positive trajectory.
“We are super excited to see what we can accomplish this year, and we know that we need to keep working hard and improving along the way,” No. 9 and captain Jay Losty ’19 said. “It is a long season, and this is only the beginning, but this result sets a really positive tone.”
Yale has a spotless record against No. 15 Brown dating back at least a decade and does not plan to break the record any time soon. In the Elis’ last 10 matches against the Bears, Yale swept them five times. Last season, the Bulldogs took an 8–1 victory, and this week, they will try to claim their first 9–0 triumph of the season. The Brown match marks the end of collegiate competition until after New Year’s when play resumes against No. 25 Amherst on Jan. 7.
The Elis will face Brown in the Brady Squash Center this Wednesday.
Lauren Cueto | firstname.lastname@example.org