The Yale men’s squash team closed out its regular season with a mixed bag of results competing against Ivy foes Dartmouth and Harvard.
No. 6 Yale (10–5, 4–3 Ivy) fell to the No. 1 Crimson (13–0, 7–0) team 9–0 in a feeble performance in Cambridge on Friday. The Elis returned to Brady Squash Center on Sunday to both honor their veteran senior class and cap off their 2018–19 campaign with a decisive win against the No. 7 Big Green (8–6, 3–4).
“This 7–2 win against Dartmouth is pivotal in solidifying our strong end of the regular season ranking nationally and in the Ivy League,” No. 3 Harrison Gill ’21 said. “This is the fourth result that we reversed from a loss last season.”
The Elis’ performance against Harvard reflected the team’s inability to challenge higher-ranked players and teams this season. Suffering a deafening shutout in its last game away from home, Yale fell out of control early on in its matches, giving the Crimson both an easy day and its 42nd Ivy League title in program history. Harvard boasts a well-adorned and seasoned roster, with its top seven athletes all included in the nation’s top 25 men’s squash players.
No. 1 Spencer Lovejoy ’20, Gill, No. 3 Calvin McCafferty ’20, No. 5 Eric Kim ’22, captain No. 6 Jay Losty ’19 and No. 8 Jacob Rhee ’21 got blanked by their opponents in disappointing, decisive results for the Elis. The remaining three on the roster — No. 4 Tyler Carney ’21, No. 7 Yohan Pandole ’19 and No. 9 Patrick Feeley ’22 — held off their foes in four or five games.
Pandole clinched his second game in a 11–9 nail-biter. Despite the competitive nature of the entire match, he ultimately fell short in four games. Feeley, a rookie, made his top-nine debut on Friday. Out of the entire roster, Feeley was the only Bulldog to challenge his Crimson foe to five games. In what initially looked like a decisive four-game result, Feeney stole the fourth game to even the score 2–2. In the end, Harvard reclaimed control over the match, clinching the nine-match sweep for the Crimson.
“Harvard outplayed us on Friday,” Losty said. “We fought hard and pushed them at spots, but ultimately they were the better team that day.”
The Bulldogs returned to Brady on Sunday for their final regular season match against Dartmouth. An evenly matched affair, Yale prevailed with a 7–2 victory. The conference clash was dedicated to Losty, Pandole and Jonathan Kovac ’19, the three senior Elis. On a momentous day, The Bulldogs experienced emotional moments as the squad honored both its graduating brothers and their last collective fight at Brady in the regular season.
The Yale and Dartmouth match was one of fierce competition, drawn-out matches and composed technique. With the two sides sharing similar rankings at six and seven respectively, the talent and competition was fairly leveled throughout each match played.
“We are pumped for our last regular season match of the year against Dartmouth,” Losty said prior to the matchup. “We need a win today to retain a top seed for nationals next weekend, and to gain some momentum going into the tournament. If we play hard, I am confident in our ability to beat them.”
No. 2 Nadav Raziel ’22 fought through three separate injuries to deliver a five-game spectacle. Raziel and his opponent entered the third game locked at 1–1. Raziel delivered a composed, calm win after structuring an effortless 8–1 lead, swinging favor towards the Bulldogs.
Shortly before the fourth game, Raziel’s injuries took hold, relinquishing any momentum from the third. As Harvard took a 7–1 lead, all of Raziel’s attempts to close the gap fell short. The fifth game was fairly level throughout. But as Raziel continued to fight, his injuries continued to affect his performance. Despite grabbing a short lead in the end, Raziel ultimately suffered a devastating 13–11 loss.
“I think that we did a great job today, we knew this is an important match and everyone pushed hard,” Raziel said. “I got injured last weekend, so I’m happy that I could be on court and fight for the team on the one hand but also disappointed because I couldn’t play my best today with the injury on the other.”
Rhee was the only other Bulldog to fall to the Big Green on Sunday. Like Raziel, Rhee won the first and third games of the five installations. The fifth game’s decision came down to a 12–10 result, with Rhee falling just short of the win.
Meanwhile, Gill succeeded in a decisive, three-game match against his opponent. Maintaining his composure throughout, Gill yielded 11–5, 11–4 and 11–5 results. Kim followed Gill’s lead, accomplishing his win in three competitive games scored at 11–7, 11–9 and 13–11 apiece. The remaining victorious Elis accomplished their wins in four or five games.
“There were five 3–2 matches, which came down to the wire, and we had the mental toughness to win the majority of those” Gill said. “Jay Losty and Tyler Carney showed great perseverance; after going down 2–0, they pushed back to win three straight games to secure the match in five games.”
The triumph over the Big Green secured Yale’s team ranking, which will be released by the College Squash Association on Wednesday, heading into the CSA Team Championships on Friday. Yale will host the Championships this year, enjoying a home-team advantage that once catalyzed the 2015–16 Elis’ Potter Cup win against Rochester three seasons ago. The current Bulldogs plan to use the home-court advantage to their favor moving into Friday’s play.
Yale’s seniors will take Brady Squash Center one last time for the CSA Team Championships on Friday.
Lauren Cueto | firstname.lastname@example.org