Melanie Heller, Contributing Photographer

The Yale squash program — the first squash program in the country — is undefeated in both the men’s and women’s teams this season.

Both the Yale women’s and men’s squash teams — with records of 2–0 and 3–0, respectively —  have climbed in their national rankings since the season has started. The women’s team is currently ranked fourth, and the men’s team is ranked seventh. These numbers are subject to change with around nine more games to go until the end of the regular season in February. Both have already climbed from their rankings at the end of the 2019-20 season, which were No. 5 and No. 8, respectively.

“The hardest game so far was UVA, which we won 7–2,” women’s squash player Meghna Sreedhar ’25 recalled. 

Before Yale, Sreedhar finished her U19 career at No. 2 in the country. She received All-American honors four times, won the U.S. Nationals two times, qualified for the U.S. Junior Women’s Team and attended the World Junior Championships twice.

The season-opener against the University of Virginia brought wins to both Bulldog teams, allowing them to climb one rung in the rankings since UVA went on to beat Columbia.

“We were pretty pumped to go up against UVA,” women’s team captain Aishwarya Bhattacharya ’21 ’22 SPH wrote to the News. “They are an up-and-coming team and they’ve caused a few upsets since our match. Although the score was 7–2, quite a few of the matches were close and could have gone either way.”

“I think [our win was] a testament to our training and preparation that everyone was able to close out those tough matches and get the crucial wins. It was a great start to the season and has definitely given us a lot of confidence going into our matches in January,” Bhattacharya said.

For men’s captain Harrison Gill ’22, UVA has been their toughest game thus far.

The Bulldogs went in as the underdogs with the lower ranking in the season-opener and had lost a close game to the Cavaliers 5–4 in their last meeting in February 2020 — their penultimate game before the National Championships were canceled due to the then-novel pandemic.

“We were really motivated to change the script,” Gill said in a phone call. “We had a lot of really strong performances throughout the lineup, and really good performances from first years as well as sophomores who had not competed on college level yet. They played extremely well and our team was very composed and mature on court.” 

The Blue and White returned to Brady Squash Center the next day to compete against the University of Western Ontario. Because squash is not a NCAA sport, the Elis often find themselves battling non Division I schools. The Mustangs do not have a women’s team, so only the men competed.

After dominating Western Ontario 9–0, the women’s team returned to action along with the men to face Brown. Both teams swept the Bears 9–0.

“We had a very good win against Brown two weeks ago,” Gill recalled. “We feel very confident in our level right now. The Ivy League is very competitive, many teams are very deep and are playing with larger rosters right now.”

Due to the cancellation of the 2020-21 season, all players on the team have an extra year of eligibility to compete in the Ivy League. Many players have taken advantage of this, including Bhattacharya, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the School of Public Health. However, the full men’s roster consists of undergraduates. 

Both the Brown’s men’s squash and women’s squash have recently lost their varsity status due to the University’s Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative, which cut six varsity programs to allow more first-generation, low-income students to matriculate. Luckily, Brown Club Squash can continue to compete with the likes of the Bulldogs in the Collegiate Squash Association.

Yale also hosted the preseason Ivy Scrimmages at the Brady Squash Center in Payne Whitney Gym.

“Scrimmages were also a good start to the season because it allowed us to test our abilities against those of other teams,” said Bhattacharya. “I think we overall feel good. We are competitive within the Ivy League and if we all play our best games, we can definitely cause some upsets.”

Yale had decisive victories against Dartmouth and Penn but lost to Princeton in a very close match.

The men’s team also had a good run in the scrimmages, especially with a win in the first round against Columbia, who they are scheduled to rematch in the second week of January.

“It’s difficult to tell how the Ivy League scrimmages will translate during the [regular season],” cautioned Gill. “Many people were rested because they were injured, but overall everyone played really well. These matches gave us a lot of confidence going into UVA, and we are all really excited to play Ivy League matches come January and February.”

While Yale’s position in the Ivy League depends on the games played against other Ivy League schools during the regular season, the Elis remain confident in their abilities when it comes to their performance at Nationals this spring.

“Our focus is weekend by weekend … We are really excited for nationals, especially this year because we feel condensed and feel we can do really well no matter what our rank is at the end of the regular season,” Gill said. 

The Yale men’s and women’s squash teams will return to the court on Jan. 9 in a rescheduled game against Drexel.

Toia Conde Rodrigues da Cunha is the News' Instagram editor. Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, she is studying cognitive science as sophomore. Toia is also a staff reporter for the Sports desk and was a staff photographer.