Yale men’s and women’s squash diverged this Sunday at Columbia, with the men’s squad clinching a crucial win and the women’s team walking away disappointed.
The No. 6 men’s team (6–1, 3–0 Ivy) looked to change the narrative heading into Sunday’s match on the back of three consecutive regular season losses against the No. 10 Lions (5–3, 2–1 Ivy) since January 2017. Despite an injury-depleted roster, the Elis defended their home court and gave Columbia a brutal 6–3 loss.
“Columbia was an important win for us,” Nadav Raziel ’22 said. “After we lost to them last year, I think they came with overconfidence to this match. We dominated most of the matches, and I’m really happy we won and sent Columbia on the express train back to New York.”
This victory extends the Bulldogs’ streak of success after a narrow loss against No. 5 Drexel in early December. In the month since, the team has taken down three opponents ranked in the top 25. Captain Spencer Lovejoy ’20, Jacob Rhee ’21, Jed Burde ’23 and Patrick Feeley ’22 all made quick work of their opponents, closing their sets in three games.
Burde emphasized the team’s rigorous training schedule and ambition as factors that set them apart from other elite competition.
“The team is getting stronger and stronger after a good training block over winter break,” Burde said. “We are one of two undefeated teams in the Ivy League, and we’re committed to being the best. The teams we are facing are extremely talented but we think we have the toughness and grit to beat them.”
But the No. 4 women’s team (7–1, 2–1 Ivy) did not produce the same result. Saddled with injuries and facing the dominant No. 8 Lions (7–1, 3–0 Ivy) team, the squad walked away with a 6–3 loss.
This upset loss is an aberration from the Elis usual dominance in this matchup. Leading up to this match, the women’s team had defeated Columbia 10 straight times, dating back to January of 2012. With spirits still high, the team is already looking ahead to opponents down the line.
“We are going to take this loss as a learning opportunity — focus on what we did well and work on improving the other aspects of our game since we have the weekend off,” Aishwarya Bhattacharya ’21 said. “We have some crucial parts of the season left starting with Trinity and Stanford next week, and we are excited to rise up to the challenge.”
Sunday’s match was not without its successes though. Riya Mital ’21, Brianna Jefferson ’23, and Elisabeth Ross ’23 each won their matches with thoroughly convincing performances.
Next up on the docket for the men’s team is Saturday’s competition against No. 15 St. Lawrence University (3–8) in New York, a matchup that the Bulldogs should feel confident about. After the women’s team’s hiatus, it will face No. 2 Trinity College (7–0), a perennially strong program, on Jan. 22 in New Haven.
The College Squash Association National Team Championships will begin next month in New Haven for women’s teams and in Boston for men’s.
Matthew Cline | firstname.lastname@example.org