After finishing fifth in the nation last year, the Yale men’s and women’s squash teams are looking to build on their past efforts with the experience of their upperclassmen and the talent of their new additions.
Last season, the Yale men’s squash team (12–6–0, 4–3 Ivy) fell short of their National Championship hopes with an 8–1 loss to Penn in the first round. The Bulldogs’ 2018–19 effort continued the program’s upward climb after losing much of the talent that defined their 2016 championship season. After garnering a top-10 ranking in 2017–18 and landing in the top five last year, the Elis are on a mission for 2020.
“[We’re] looking forward to competing for an Ivy Title and being competitive for a National Title, improving on our fifth-place finish,” head coach Dave Talbott said. “Finishing in the top three in the country would be special.”
Heading into this season’s campaign, the Elis have added four first years to replace two outgoing seniors and will bring five redshirts into play. This combination of talent from the top five seeds and strength at all slots on the depth chart positions the team to continue its upward trajectory.
While the team is ranked fifth going into the season, Talbott’s focus on elevating the team’s ranking and achieving greater success in conference play has proven infectious for new and experienced players alike.
“This preseason ranking has made us really hungry and given us a lot to prove,” Jed Burde ’23 said. “Our team has the makeup both on and off the court to achieve greatness.”
Many players emphasized the team’s chemistry in interviews with the News. While the team has retained most of its core integral to last season’s success, the team has made it a point to emphasize the growth of its newer players.
Eric Kim ’22 discussed the team’s cohesive culture and its unique opportunity to have a dominant season.
“We have a great freshman class who all fit in perfectly with the team and have been working hard in order to make this transition to college squash,” Kim said. “Our coach Dave Talbott has emphasized that this could be the best team that any of us will ever play on during our four years, so we should take advantage of the opportunity to compete for an Ivy League and a National Championship, which so few teams have the chance to do.”
The Yale women’s squash team (12–5, 5–2) is also aiming for an improved and dominant 2020 season, as the team posted a fifth-place finish in the College Squash Association National Team Championships.
The team heads into the season ranked fifth but believes it has even greater potential than this ranking suggests.
“I’m really looking forward to surprising some teams this year, especially with our first years,” Anika Bhargava ’21 said. “We have an amazing team dynamic and some strong leadership from our seniors, and I have no doubt that we’ll have an even stronger finish than we had last year.”
Multiple players on the team stressed the importance of this season’s rookies, and the new players have resumes to match their acclaim. Three of the team’s first years represented their countries at the World Junior Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this summer.
With this combination of talent and experience, team captain Lucy Beecroft ’20 is confident in the team’s 2020 prospects.
“With it being my senior year, I am really hoping to go out on a high [note] and finish the best we have finished in four years, which I think is very achievable with the team we have,” Beecroft said. “We are an extremely close team and I think the friendships and respect we have for each other on and off the court is really going to be evident in our performances this year.”
Both teams are hoping to put the conference on notice with their play at the Ivy League Scrimmage this weekend.
The Ivy League Scrimmage will be hosted by Penn on Saturday, Nov. 9. Both teams’ first official contest will be against Williams on Nov. 22.
Matthew Cline | firstname.lastname@example.org