Straight off of a successful weekend’s play, the Yale men’s squash team continued to show that it can compete against high-performance opposition.
The No. 7 Elis (6–2, 2–1 Ivy) defeated No. 11 St. Lawrence (2–4, 0–0 Liberty) 7–2 on Saturday before falling to No. 2 Rochester (8–1, 0–0 Liberty) 6–3 in an enthralling contest a day later. Yale demonstrated skill and endurance throughout the weekend, but its results fell just short in the final moments of Sunday’s play. On Wednesday, the Bulldogs faced and fell 7–2 to No. 4 Trinity (9–1, 0–0 NESCAC) in a disheartening finish.
“[On Saturday], we wanted to maintain the same theme we have been working on throughout our last few matches: coming out with 100 percent focus from the first to the last point of each match,” No. 1 Spencer Lovejoy ’20 said. “We knew St. Lawrence was a tough team, so we had to play to our strengths and maintain focus on our game plans the entire time.”
Strong performances across the roster powered Yale to victory over St. Lawrence. With six sweeps out of the seven match wins, the entire lineup thwarted its respective Saints. Lovejoy blanked St. Lawrence’s Mohamed El Gawarhy, the 12th best player in the nation, in 12–10, 11–6 and 11–7 contentions. No. 3 Harrison Gill ’21 maintained his spotless-season streak with a sweep against his competitor, who is also top-15 in the nation. Both Lovejoy and Gill dropped their St. Lawrence matches last season in 3–1 contests — their wins on Saturday reflect the Bulldog’s hardcore training regimens and consistency throughout summer practice and the current season.
No. 6 Tiber Worth ’22, No. 7 Eric Kim ’22, captain, No. 8 Jay Losty ’19 and No. 9 Yohan Pandole ’19 secured their wins in three games apiece. No. 5 Tyler Carney ’21 defeated his opponent in four games.
Meanwhile, Sunday’s final result against Rochester does not represent the depth nor quality of the day’s performances. Yale fell to the Yellowjackets in a 6–3 fight to the finish. Rochester boasts a highly ranked lineup and undefeated performers; ultimately, the Elis could not topple the well-adorned Yellowjackets.
At one point, the Elis brought the overall match score to a tight 3–4. Lovejoy and No. 4 Calvin McCafferty ’20 played the final two matches of the day, and their results determined the fate of the match. As both contests progressed, and the air in Brady grew thick with anxiety, Lovejoy’s opponent Ashley Davies, undefeated this season and No. 8 in the country, bested Lovejoy in the first two games. Simultaneously, McCafferty defeated his Yellowjacket in the second game after falling in the first.
Lovejoy clapped back, grabbing wins in the third and fourth games, while McCafferty also snatched a second game. As both matches progressed to the fifth, Lovejoy and McCafferty pushed forward in a fight for both the individual and team win. However, Rochester pulled out both wins to hand Yale the loss.
“Rochester is the best team in the country right now, and we went toe-to-toe with them on Sunday and were points away from beating them,” Losty said. “It was good for us to know that we can compete with the best, and I think that if we play them again in nationals, we will take them out.”
No. 2 Nadav Raziel ’22, Kim and Pandole were the only Elis to clinch a win on Sunday. Raziel and Pandole earned their wins in three games, and Kim bested his opponent in five. Kim returned from a two-game deficit to secure his final result. Gill lost his 2018–19 season winning streak in a five-game upset.
Yesterday’s Trinity match marked the first of a string of six away matches. Though Trinity also lost to Rochester earlier in the season, they boast an impressive lineup that includes the No. 1 player in the nation: Kush Kumar.
The Elis competed in their first away game against No. 4 Trinity, losing 7–2. Raziel fell in five games after beating his opponent in the first two games. Pandole fell in four games. Other members of the Bulldog squad did not get so lucky; the Bantams blanked Gill, McCafferty, Carney and Worth.
Kim provided a bright spot for the Bulldogs with his 3–1 victory while Losty blanked his opponent with 11–9, 11–9 and 11–9 game finishes. Spencer showed up in the final match. Even though he lost 3–2, he fought back from a 2–0 deficit to force a fifth game for a memorable end to the match.
The Elis will continue their streak of away games on Saturday when they face off against George Washington.
Lauren Cueto | firstname.lastname@example.org