Tag Archive: M. Squash

  1. SQUASH | Elis finish sixth in nation

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    PRINCETON, N.J.: Ranked No. 1 in the nation for two weeks during the season, the Bulldogs entered the Men’s College Squash Association National Team Championships with high hopes. The season highlight, a win over Trinity that broke a historic 252-game winning streak, indicated Yale squash was on its way to top. But the Elis left Princeton, N.J., in a disappointing sixth place.

    The Bulldogs were seeded No. 3 entering the tournament, but started off on the wrong foot with an 8–1 loss to No. 6 Cornell on Friday. The Elis followed with a 6–3 victory over No. 7 Dartmouth on Saturday, but finished off the weekend with a loss to No. 5 Rochester 5–4. Captain Ryan Dowd ’12 said the team had hoped to win the tournament, and the losses were especially painful for the seniors.

    “We were expecting a tough weekend. The odds weren’t with us to win it all, but it was definitely possible,” Dowd said. “There are just so many good teams that are all really close in ability, so it could have been any of those teams that won.”

    On Friday, the Bulldogs were down 3–0 after the first round of matches against Cornell. Ned Martin ’14 and Joseph Roberts ’15 lost 3–1 at No. 6 and No. 9 respectively, while Ricky Dodd ’13 played out five games but lost narrowly by a 3–2 margin at No. 3.

    No. 7 Robby Berner ’12, who defeated Cornell’s Owen Butler in four games, recorded Yale’s only win against Cornell. Hywel Robinson ’13 came back after three weeks with a torn ligament in his toe to play at No. 2 but ended up reinjuring himself. Head coach Dave Talbott said regardless of the injury, the team just couldn’t come back from a 3–0 deficit.

    Robinson added that he hopes to both recover 100 percent from his injury and best his coach in a squash match before the start of next season.

    “You know, we played spotty yesterday, and Cornell played really strong,” Talbott said. “[The Big Red] played as well as they could’ve possibly played, and we didn’t match it. We got a little bit tight trying to come back. It’s really hard to win when you’re already down 3–0. It gives you no margin for error.”

    On Saturday, the Bulldogs managed to pull a 6–3 victory over a No. 7 Dartmouth. All four seniors — No. 3 John Roberts ’12, No. 4 Dowd, No. 6 Berner and No. 7 Samuel Clayman ’12 — won their matches against the Big Green, whereas Friday only Berner was able to secure a victory.

    No. 9 Eric Caine ’14 and No. 5 Martin both swept their matches in three games apiece.

    John Roberts said he was proud of the way the team came back against Dartmouth after losing the previous day to Cornell.

    “I thought we played pretty well,” he said. “We fought really well, and it felt good to get a win especially after our loss and still feeling the effects from that. We came back firing.”

    On Sunday, Yale went up against No. 5 Rochester and fell 5–4 in a close match. At No. 1, Kenneth Chan ’13 lost 3–0 after a match of long rallies, and No. 2 Dodd also suffered a losing sweep. The middle of the ladder, Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6 , came out on top, with Berner winning at No. 6 in a tight 3–2 match. Clayman, Roberts and Caine all lost 3–2 at No. 7, No. 8 and No. 9 respectively.

    Clayman said the team suffered losses at the bottom of the ladder, as it adjusted the lineup to fill the spots for the injured Robinson and Charlie Wyatt ’14.

    “We were a little thinner than we usually are because our No. 2 [Robinson] is injured,” Clayman said. “Our 2-9 spots all had to shift, and it really showed when we lost 7, 8 and 9 all in five games.”

    He added that during the season, Yale bested Rochester in a close 5–4 match even when the entire Yale ladder was healthy.

    Everyone in the top nine said Berner was the strongest presence on the court for Yale. Berner came out of the weekend with a perfect 3–0 record.

    Walk-on Sam Shleifer ’15 was given a chance to play at No. 10, his first competitive collegiate match, and split his two matches after five games each.

    At least five to seven players on the Yale squad are expected to qualify for the individual national championships at Amherst College in Massachusetts, Dowd said.

  2. M. SQUASH | Yale overcomes Harvard despite injuries

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    Playing without two starters and just a week after a disappointing 8–1 loss to No. 2 Princeton, the No. 3 men’s squash team overcame the odds to top No. 4 Harvard Sunday.

    No. 1 Hywel Robinson ’13 and No. 9 Charlie Wyatt ’14 were unavailable for yesterday’s matchup with the Cantabs (14–3, 5–2 Ivy), but the Elis (14–1, 6–1 Ivy) hurdled that obstacle to defeat their archrival 5–4 at the Brady Squash Center.

    Samuel Clayman ’12, who won the decisive game for Yale, said that missing those two players put the Bulldogs at a disadvantage from the beginning.

    “With us missing [Robinson and Wyatt] this was definitely an upset on paper,” Clayman said. “For us to get a win missing those guys is really huge.”

    Clayman’s four-game victory over Cantab Julian Kirby made the overall score 5–3 and clinched the victory for Yale.

    Although No. 3 John Roberts ’12 and No. 5 Neil Martin ’14 swept their opponents, other Bulldog victories were not as one-sided. No. 2 Richard Dodd ’13 needed four games and No. 6 Robby Berner ’12 was pushed to five games in order to emerge victorious.

    What made these matches more difficult was the fact that without Robinson at his usual No. 1 position, players were moved up higher in the order.

    “We don’t have a very deep bench, so having guys step up like this, I think the guys are almost as excited as they were for Trinity,” head coach David Talbott said. “Guys stepped in and played a spot or two up and impressed.”

    Clayman was particularly impressive. Berner said Clayman was an American walk-on to the team his freshman year, something extremely rare in the squash world. He added that last year Clayman was last on the bench, but he worked his way into the starting lineup.

    The victory came in Yale’s final match before the CSA Team Championships to be held at Princeton next weekend. Although the loss to Princeton Feb. 4 took away the Elis’ hopes of repeating as Ivy League Champions, yesterday’s victory assured the Bulldogs of a second-place finish in the Ancient Eight.

    Berner added that Yale, Trinity, and Princeton form a “bit of a triangle” as Yale defeated Trinity, Trinity upended Princeton, and Princeton took down Yale this season. Berner said the home team was victorious in all of these matches.

    Talbott said that the Bulldogs had been riding high after stopping No. 1 Trinity’s 13-year winning streak last month, but the loss at Princeton took that away. He added that he felt defeating the Crimson yesterday could restore the team’s energy.

    “After the big win at Trinity, the bad loss to Princeton took the wind out of us,” Talbott said. “Hopefully we have our momentum back, and we can take that into nationals.”

    On Friday, the Elis defeated Dartmouth in Hanover, NH 6–3.

    The class of 2012 is only the second class of seniors to go undefeated against Harvard all four years, Berner said.

  3. SQUASH | Women’s squash still perfect

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    After a fairytale start to the season that included a momentous victory over Trinity, the men’s squash team fell back to earth when it was demolished by No. 3 Princeton, 8-1, Saturday. However, the men’s team bounced back and won its Sunday match against No. 10 Penn to finish the weekend with a 12–1 record. The women’s team, meanwhile, defeated both of its opponents — No. 5 Princeton and No. 4 Penn — to remain undefeated and set up a showdown next weekend with No. 1 Harvard.

    On Saturday at Princeton, the women’s team won the No. 1, No. 3-5, and No. 7-9 spots to seal the match 7–2. At the No. 1 spot, Millie Tomlinson ’14 defeated her opponent in a hard-fought five sets. Having lost the first set, Tomlinson won the next two, but lost the fourth, only to clinch victory in the final set. At No. 2, Kim Hay ’14 lost her match 3–0. The other loss was at the No. 6 spot Gwen Tilghman ’14, who also lost three straight sets.

    However, the men’s team lost 8–1 to Princeton despite several hard-fought matches. Captain Ryan Dowd ’12 went back and forth a full five sets with his opponent at the No. 5 spot, but lost the final set. Robert Berner ’12 at No. 7 took an early 2–0 lead, but his opponent gained momentum and took the next three sets for the win. The only match won was at No. 9 with Joseph Roberts ’15, who swept the first three sets. Roberts was called up into the lineup this weekend in the important game against Princeton.

    “It was sad to see the team lose,” Roberts said. “We are just trying to get back on track now and be ready for Nationals in two weeks.”

    No. 2 player Hywel Robinson ‘14 added that while the loss was a huge disappointment, it is important for the team to move on and make sure the rest of the season goes smoothly.

    Getting back on track from Saturday’s 1–8 defeat, the Elis defeated the No. 10 Quakers 8–1 on Sunday. Kenneth Chan ’13 lost his match at No. 1, but the rest of the matches were one-sided in Yale’s favor. In spots 3–7, the Elis all won 3–0.

    The women’s match against Penn was much closer. In the first round of matches, Tilghman won 3–0 at No. 6, but Issey Norman-Ross ’15 lost hers, in a drawn-out 5-set affair. Captain Rhetta Nadas ’12 helped the Elis take the lead by winning her 5-set match at No. 3. In the second round, the women’s team took wins at No. 2 and No. 8, but lost at No. 5. Despite having a 4–2 lead going into the final round of matches, the Quakers won at the No. 7 and No. 4 spot, tying the overall score. However, Tomlinson, who is also the defending national champion, swept her No. 1 spot match 3–0 and won the overall match for the Elis 5–4.

    Women’s squash team member Charlotte Dillon ’14 said that both matches were exciting, with Sunday’s match particularly close.

    The Elis will face Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H., next Friday, and Harvard at home on Sunday.

  4. SQUASH | Roberts reflects on historic win


    Thirteen years and 252 straight wins made Trinity squash a dynasty. But Yale, the No. 2 squash powerhouse for three years, was determined to claim some of the glory last Wednesday night.

    College squash saw the end of an era when John Roberts ’12 scored his 11th point against Trinity’s Johan Detter that evening, climching hismatch and the contest between the two schools —and ending the longest winning streak in college sports history.

    Trinity and Yale had entered the final round of thier match tied 3–3. Despite several clutch dive-saves and a controversial play in which Trinity’s Vikram Malhotra fired a hard shot that hit his opponent’s body, Yale’s No. 1 Kenneth Chan ’13 lost 0–3. Trailing 3–4, the Elis put all of their hope on their last two players, No. 7 Robert Berner ’12 and No. 4 John Roberts ’12.

    Berner won his match relatively quickly, tying the teams at 4–4 and putting all of the pressure on teammate Roberts to seal the deal. The hard work of his teammates and coaches, as well as all of the frustrating moments against Trinity in the past all rested on the native of Ireland.

    Despite the magnitude of the situation, Roberts had plenty of squash experience to alleviate the pressure: He began playing the sport at age 11.

    “My older brother, who also played, was a big influence, and the sport just became addicting,” Roberts said.

    Roberts played at his local squash club in Belfast, which was conveniently within walking distance. His years of hard work were recognized when he won the Irish Nationals in his junior year of high school.

    “There were only about 30 other juniors,” Roberts said. “Not that many people played, but it was a great experience, especially since I never trained with a coach.”

    Despite this milestone, Roberts said he had a few setbacks when he initially started playing squash. At first, he said he lagged behind his competition, and he also had trouble with his knees until he was 17 or 18.

    Even with these bumps in the road early in his career, Roberts has gone on to accumulate a 32–19 record at Yale. But no victory was more important than the one last Wednesday.

    “It was a great team effort,” Roberts said of the win against Trinity. “We have been trying to beat these guys … since I’ve been here. They beat us in last year’s final round of nationals in a heartbreaking match. It was great to get some revenge.”

    Squash matches are played using a three-court system, with the No. 7, 8 and 9 matches played on the first court, the 4, 5 and 6 matches on a second court, and the 1, 2 and 3 matches on a third court. The matches are played in decreasing order, with the No. 1, 4 and 7 matches often occurring simultaneously at the end. But as the other contests wore on, Roberts increasingly came to suspect, and even dread, that his would be the deciding match.

    “I had a good feeling that it was going to come down to either me or Robby [Berner],” he said. “The No. 1 match had already finished, and I was confident that Robby was going to win his match, so I thought it would be up to me.”

    The top three contests only took 10 games to complete and Malhotra, Trinity’s No. 1 player, dispatched Chan in straight sets to give the Bantams a 4–3 lead. That left Roberts and Berner on the court with Yale needing both wins to secure the victory.

    After Roberts’ third game, an 11–7 victory that put him up 2–1 in his match against Detter, he saw Berner come off the court celebrating and knew that all his team’s hopes lay with him. This was the Elis’ moment, a chance to end the longest winning streak in college sports, to forget about last year’s heartbreaking defeat and, for the seniors, to overcome two long years of being second-best.

    “I was really amped up when I saw all my teammates there watching and realized we had a chance,” Roberts said. “But I did get a little nervous. I played a really loose game in the fourth [game].”

    Detter remained composed even though he was down 2–1 and needed two wins in a row to keep his team’s historic 252-game winning streak alive. He coasted to an 8–1 lead before eventually winning 11–5, sending the match to a fifth game.

    This was it: No. 1 against No. 2, four victories apiece and tied 2–2 in the final match, with collegiate sports history on the line.

    The tension heightened after Roberts opened up an early 6–3 lead. Detter was defending the streak and facing greater pressure, something Roberts said he kept reminding himself of as the match wore on.

    “He’s a nice guy, and he played a very fair match,” Roberts said. “But I think he did freeze up a little bit there at the end.”

    With his early lead, Roberts was able to play more conservatively, forcing his opponent to take the risks. He ran off the next four points in a row to get to match point at 10–3.

    When asked what was going through his head at that moment, just one point away from history, Roberts gave a little laugh.

    “Don’t blow it,” he responded. “I tried to stay composed, and I took plenty of time between points. I just stayed relaxed and tried to block out everything around me. Luckily I was able to win.”

    After a point by Detter and a few lets, Roberts finally broke through with the decisive point. The crowd went wild and his teammates stormed the court.

    Head coach David Talbott said he was ecstatic and incredibly proud of his team.

    “They really wanted this so badly,” Talbott said of his players after the match. “It’s been a four-year journey for the seniors. They put in the work and everybody really wanted to break this streak.”

    The view was a little bit different from the other side of the court. Trinity head coach Paul Assaiante said many times during the 13-year streak that he would be relieved when it ends, but now that it actually has, he feels differently.

    “Losing really stinks,” Assaiante said in an interview Tuesday night. “Now we are looking in the rear-view mirror, but at the time it was really tough. I didn’t realize before, but the streak really was a burden to the boys. You could see it on their faces when they came into the gym the next day.”

    Assaiante told his team that this was only one loss in a long season. He told them that in March, 64 basketball teams will come together to compete for the national championship, and none of them will be undefeated, but one of them still has to win the national title.

    Roberts said Yale and Trinity may very well meet in the national finals again this year — for the third time in a row — so while Trinity’s streak may be over, the teams’ rivalry lives on.

  5. SQUASH | Elis continued undefeated run


    After last Wednesday’s historic defeat of Trinity College, the Yale’s men’s and women’s squash teams continued their undefeated rampage this weekend.

    Friday, the No. 2 men’s team traveled to Rochester, N.Y., and defeated the No. 11 University of Western Ontario. Then, on Saturday, the team returned to the Brady Squash Center to host the No. 4 University of Rochester and won a close victory, which brought the Elis’ season record to 9–0.

    Meanwhile, the No. 2 women’s team traveled to South Hadley, Mass., for the Pioneer Invitational, where it defeated No. 12 Mount Holyoke, No. 22 Colby and No. 20 Wesleyan. The wins brought the Elis’ perfect season to 10–0. Yale won every match.

    Last year’s individual championships winner Millie Tomlinson ’14 played her usual No. 1 spot against Mount Holyoke and Wesleyan, but in the matches against schools that are not as competitive as Yale’s usual opponents, head coach David Talbott sometimes decided to move more players up to the top nine.

    “Although only nine players compete in each match, we have 18 players on the team who all play an equally important role,” Tomlinson said. “Our team [has] incredible depth, and I feel that we are very strong all the way down the ladder.”

    Tomlinson added that every member is motivated to achieve the team’s goal of a second consecutive national championship this season.

    The teams to watch out for include Penn, Princeton, Harvard and Trinity, Tomlinson said. Earlier this season, Yale lost to Harvard in an Ivy scrimmage’s final, but Tomlinson said the team took the loss as motivation to improve for the regular season.

    Against Western Ontario, the men’s team mostly followed their usual lineup, but Joseph Roberts ’15 played No. 9 instead of Charlie Wyatt ’14. Yale won the contest 8–1.

    But on Saturday against Rochester the score came much closer. Yale managed to win five matches early on, but Rochester held the final score at 5–4.

    The Elis fought hard to win at the No. 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 spots. At the No. 3 spot, Yale’s Richard Dodd ’13 played Rochester’s Adam Perkiomaki in a close match that went to five games. Rochester took an 8–1 lead in the first game, but Dodd came back for a 12–10 overtime victory.

    Similar Yale comebacks were scattered throughout the evening. Having lost his first two sets, Yale’s No. 6 Neil Martin ’14 won the next three to take the match.

    No. 2 Hywel Robinson ’14 also managed to come back from a 0–2 start and win the next three sets.

    But not every player managed to come back from a rough start. At the No. 9 spot Wyatt lost 0–3 to Rochester’s Juan Pablo Gaviria. At No. 8, Rochester’s Mohamed Maksoud defeated Yale’s Sam Clayman ’12 3–1.

    At the No. 5 spot, captain Ryan Dowd ’12 swept his set 3–0 against Rochester’s Matt Domenick. Dowd brought Yale’s score to 4–2. No. 7 Robert Berner ’12 finished the meet when he also swept his match.

    The Yellowjackets also showed themselves capable of sweeping sets and took two matches 3–0, including the No. 1 spot.

    Dowd said he was happy with the outcome overall.

    “Our season so far has been great. We won a few big matches — Cornell, Trinity and Rochester — 5–4, and that is a huge start,” Dowd said. “We need to continue the rest of the season and play with more confidence at the beginning of the match.”

    Dowd added that the Elis have yet to play two of their toughest opponents, Princeton and Harvard.

    Playing out his last season, Dowd added that he is confident the younger players will carry on Yale’s tradition of squash excellence.

    “We have a few young guys who are just really great. Neil Martin and Charlie Wyatt, who usually play at six and nine, both pulled some great wins,” Dowd said.

    Next Tuesday, both teams will take on Brown in Providence, R.I.

  6. Squash Haven supports Elm City youths


    On Tuesday afternoon in Brady Squash Center on the fourth floor of Payne Whitney Gymnasium, all 15 courts were filled with young squash players.

    Within the walls of each court, athletes could be seen alternating hitting a small rubber ball with their rackets against the front wall, which created resounding thuds that echoed throughout the facility.

    But the majority of the young players weren’t college students — they were elementary and high school students from the New Haven community.

    The children are all part of Squash Haven, an academic and athletic enrichment program that serves students from the Elm City. The program currently provides 70 students, ranging from fourth to 10th grade, with free after-school tutoring, mentoring and squash training at Payne Whitney throughout the week.

    Founded in 2007, Squash Haven is one of 10 programs around the country that make up the National Urban Squash and Education Association (NUSEA), a network of urban squash programs, many of which are affiliated with universities. The programs partner with local schools where at least 70 percent of students’ families meet federal low-income thresholds, said Julie Greenwood, executive director of Squash Haven. She added that all of the students who graduate from these urban squash programs go on to four-year colleges.

    “We’re developing athletes, developing educational skills, and because it’s so small and intimate, what we’re really doing is supporting kids and families for a long period of time,” Greenwood said.

    The combination of academic and athletic support Squash Haven offers makes the program popular among New Haven families. But admission to the program is competitive. Students interested in joining Squash Haven must go through a rigorous application process that includes a written application, parent interviews and teacher recommendations.

    Greenwood said the program looks for candidates who will apply themselves both on the court and in the classroom.

    “I think the most important variables from our perspective are motivation and commitment,” Greenwood said. “What we’re looking for are kids who are going to be motivated to do their best across settings.”

    Students in the program typically head to Payne Whitney after school at least three days a week. They usually begin with one-hour sessions on the squash court, followed by 15 minutes of fitness, 30 minutes of snack and announcements. The program typically ends with one hour of academic study and homework help.

    Many of the students who participate in Squash Haven knew nothing about the sport prior to joining the program.

    “I never heard of squash,” eighth-grader Moubarak Ouro-Aguy said. “I thought it was something to eat.”

    Thirteen-year-old Elaine Negron said she wanted to join Squash Haven in order to be able to travel.

    “My friends told me about it and all the cool trips they went to,” she said. “I didn’t travel that much, so I wanted to travel and play.”

    Greenwood and a small staff work full-time to run Squash Haven, but they also receive a lot of support from volunteer tutors, mentors and coaches, many of whom are Yale students. Yale Athletics donates both office space and court time to the program, while all members of the men’s and women’s squash team work one hour per week as coaches for the students.

    Millie Tomlinson ’14, a member of the women’s squash team, said she enjoys the opportunity to teach her sport to new players.

    “It’s nice to introduce new people to the sport,” Tomlinson said. “It’s nice to get more people playing squash and help younger kids learn how to play.”

    Not all Yale students involved with Squash Haven come from squash backgrounds.

    Emily Graham ’13 said she had never seen or played squash before coming to Yale, but that she decided to begin volunteering with Squash Haven at the beginning of her freshman year because she wanted to become involved in a tutoring program for New Haven youth.

    The staff and volunteers who form the core of Squash Haven have helped students find success. This past weekend, all 10 urban squash programs gathered in New York City to compete at the NUSEA Team Nationals. In the boys’ U15 division, Squash Haven finished in first place.

    The tournament also featured an essay contest in conjunction with the squash competitions. Two of Squash Haven’s students, sixth-grader Johanile Hurtado and ninth-grader Aaron Brevard, won the contest in their respective age groups for essays on perseverance. Both students earned the opportunity to read their essays at the tournament.

    “I was surprised because I’m never satisfied with my work,” Brevard said. “My voice was kind of shaky, but everybody said they liked it.”

    “My face turned red,” Hurtado said.

    Greenwood said she plans on expanding Squash Haven from its current 70 New Haven students to 100 over the next two years. Though running the program is a lot of work, Greenwood said the small daily rewards make directing Squash Haven and providing families with a “transformative experience” well worth the effort.

    Squash Haven was founded in 2006.

  7. M. SQUASH | Elis fall one match short


    Cambridge, Mass. — The men’s squash team fell just one match short of winning the Potter Cup and ending Trinity’s unprecedented 242-contest win streak.

    The No. 2 Elis (15–2, 6–0 Ivy) had convincing wins over No. 7 Dartmouth (10–8, 2–4) and No. 3 Princeton (11–3, 5–1), 8–1 and 7–2, respectively. In the final, the Bulldogs came close to being the first team to defeat the Bantams in 12 years, but the tried and true No. 1 Trinity team (20–0) pulled off the narrow 5–4 win for their 13th consecutive national title.

    “[It was] as successful as the season could have been,” captain Naishadh Lalwani ’11 said. “We found a way to beat everyone else. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t do it against Trinity.”

    In the first round, Yale faced a struggling Ivy League opponent in the Big Green. The Bulldogs outplayed

    [ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”4759″ ]

    Dartmouth at most spots on the ladder, winning six matches in straight games.

    John Roberts ’12 lost his match at the No. 5 position in five closely contested games, losing the last game 11–9. Kenneth Chan ’13 lost the opening two games before coming back to win his match in five games.

    “We were feeling confident and well prepared,” Chan said after the match. “We knew what we had to do and individually all managed to find a way to win our matches.”

    The next day, the Bulldogs played the No. 3 Tigers, who were looking for revenge after dropping a close match to Yale earlier in the season, 5–4. However, the Elis stepped up their play and never looked challenged in their 7–2 victory over Princeton.

    Despite dropping the top two spots on the ladder, Yale had a comfortable victory. Lalwani lost in five games at the No. 2 spot after winning the opening two.

    Chan was forced to five games again, but pulled away with the victory after trailing 1–2 in games. According to Lalwani, Chan was never tired during the course of the weekend and was always ready for the next point.

    “I think we just played to our potential,” Ryan Dowd ’12 said. “We lined up better this time around too. The individual matchups were more in our favor.”

    Sunday’s national title match was a repeat of last year’s final in which Trinity won 6–3. The result this time around, 5–4, was an improvement over the Bulldogs’ performance earlier in the year when the Bantams brushed Yale aside with a 7–2 victory.

    “Heartbreaking,” Lalwani said describing the loss. “Not much else I can say.”

    Yale looked like it was on its way to victory early in the contest, jumping out to a quick 2–1 lead in the first set of matches with wins from No. 9 Christopher Plimpton ’11 and Chan.

    Plimpton was all business in his final team match with Yale. He won in straight games and never gave his opponent an opening for victory.

    Chan, who had played two consecutive five-game matches, was forced to work again against Trinity’s Andres Vargas at the No. 3 spot. After dropping the first game, he fell to the floor in a flurry of emotions as he pulled out a big victory in four games.

    “It was very special for me personally because of my history with them,” Chan said after his match against Trinity. In last year’s national title contest, in a story that gained national attention, Chan was shoved by Trinity’s Baset Chaudhury after his 3–0 victory over Chan that sealed the Bantams’ 12th consecutive Potter Cup.

    In the next set of matches, Yale again won two of the three contests. Lalwani fell to Trinity’s Parth Sharma in four games at the No. 2 after fighting back to tie it at 1–1. After three close games, Lalwani was unable to challenge Parth in the fourth. He showed signs of fatigue from his five-set endeavor against Princeton the previous day as he had difficulty chasing the ball down in that fourth game.

    Robert Berner ’12 came through with a big win in four games to further increase the Bulldogs’ lead.

    The closest match of the evening came between John Roberts ’12 and Trinity’s Randy Lim. Roberts pulled off the victory in five games, winning the last one 11–9.

    Roberts and other Yale players were forced to play in a relatively hostile environment. Towards the end of the match, the Trinity crowd was loudly chanting and mocking the Yale players to invoke responses. Dowd said it felt like the match was being played in Hartford.

    “The Trinity alum definitely tried to instigate some form of reaction from us with taunts and jeers,” Chan said. “The team, however, maintained its composure and class and left everything on the court.”

    However, Roberts’ match would be the last match that Yale would win as the Bulldogs lost their last three matches, conceding the title to Trinity.

    Hywel Robinson ’13 and Dowd lost their matches in straight games at the No. 1 and No. 7 spots, respectively. After close first games, neither player was able to challenge his opponent in the later rounds.

    Richard Dodd ’13 took the court last with a chance to win the title for the Bulldogs at the No. 4 position. Dodd dropped the opening two games, 9–11, but he came back in the third game and won 11–9. That momentum was short lived, however, as Trinity’s Christopher Binnie wrapped up the victory in the fourth game, 11–7.

    “I think he handled it so well,” Lalwani said about Dodd. “The maturity he showed out there today was really something.”

    Next weekend, Yale will travel to Hanover to compete in the CSA Individual Championships.

  8. M. SQUASH | Yale vies for Potter Cup, Trinity looms

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    Three wins separate the Bulldogs from a national championship.

    The No. 2 men’s squash team (13–1, 6–0 Ivy), which won the Ivy League championship two weeks ago, will face No. 7 Dartmouth (10–6, 2–4) in the first round of the Potter Cup in Cambridge, Mass. Should they win, the Elis will face either No. 3 Princeton (10–2, 5–1) or No. 6 Harvard (7–5, 3–3). In the final, Yale would most likely run into longtime rival No. 1 Trinity (17–0), which has won the CSA championship for the last 12 consecutive seasons and 239 straight matches.

    “It’s the biggest prize in college squash,” captain Naishadh Lalwani ’11 said. “This weekend is a chance for us to prove that we are the best team in the country and everyone is very excited by the opportunity.”

    In the first round of action, Yale will take on the Big Green, who have won only a third of their contests against Ancient Eight opponents.

    The Bulldogs defeated Dartmouth 7–2 early in January. One of the Bulldogs’ two losses in that match was a default by Yale’s No. 1 Hywel Robinson ’13 who withdrew with a leg injury; Robinson will, however, be healthy entering into this weekend’s contests.

    “It’s the national championships,” Robinson said. “These are the top eight teams in the country. Every team is a great team. We have to play as hard as we can if we want to progress.”

    If the Bulldogs win their first-round match, they will play either Princeton or Harvard. Yale defeated both teams earlier in the season, but with varying difficulty. The Elis beat Harvard 7–2, but barely edged out Princeton 5–4.

    Although Harvard has the home-court advantage, Princeton is still the favorite going into its Friday matchup as the Tigers easily defeated Harvard earlier in the year, 7–2.

    A semifinal match between Yale and Princeton would be a repeat of the thrilling 5–4 contest three weeks ago that came down to one final match at the No. 4 position to determine the Ivy League champion.

    In that contest, Lalwani battled past his Princeton opponent, Peter Sopher, after dropping the opening game, 11–8. He crawled his way back into the match in the second set and took command in the third and fourth games.

    “Princeton’s going to be really tough,” Lalwani admitted. “It’s always hard to beat a team for a second time when the first one was so close.”

    The Bantams are undefeated this season and were unchallenged by Yale when the two teams played earlier this year. Trinity brushed aside the Bulldogs in a straightforward 7–2 victory. The most matches the Bantams have dropped against any team this season is three. Cornell, Princeton, Harvard and Rochester were the teams that accomplished that feat.

    “The focus is on Dartmouth and Princeton right now, and we will think about Trinity if we get there,” Lalwani said. “To beat Trinity anywhere would be very special, but it would be perfect if we managed to do it in the national final.”

    Play begins on Friday at 11 a.m. in Cambridge.

  9. SQUASH | Three victories away from Howe title

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    After an undefeated regular season, the women’s squash team will look to extemd its win streak to 17 consecutive wins and a national championship this weekend.

    The No. 1 Elis (14–0, 6–0 Ivy) will begin its quest for the national CSA title at the Howe Cup against No. 8 Dartmouth (9–7, 1–5) on Friday. If they win, the Bulldogs will face either No. 4 Penn (7–3, 4–2) or No. 5 Princeton (9–4, 3–3) on Saturday. In the final, the Bulldogs could possibly have a rematch of last weekend’s thriller against No. 2 Harvard (9–1, 5–1).

    “This weekend is an opportunity for us to demonstrate our improvement,” captain Logan Greer ‘11 said. “All season we have worked to win a national championship and we now have the chance to accomplish that goal.”

    [ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”4863″ ]

    The match against Dartmouth should not be much of a challenge for Yale, who defeated the Big Green earlier in the season 6–3. However, Kimberley Hay ’14, who plays the No. 4 position, and Millie Tomlinson ’14, who has played at the No. 3 spot, did not play in that contest. Both players will be on the court this weekend.

    Tomlinson went undefeated during the regular season and was only pushed to four games one this season against No. 3 Trinity. She will be No. 2 on the Elis’ ladder behind Greer for the national tournament.

    “They have been solid all year, and all of them have been in pressure situations and responded well,” Caroline Reigeluth ‘11 said.

    The Bulldogs would then play either Princeton or Penn in the second round. Though the match against Princeton was a straightforward 7–2 win, the contest against Penn did not come as easily. They barely edged the Quakers in the opening match of the season, winning 5–4.

    Penn has swept Yale in each of the past four years, and this season was the first time Yale defeated the Quakers in regular season play.

    The freshmen made a big difference in the match. Lillian Fast ‘14 pulled out a huge win at the No. 5 spot in five games that would have otherwise set back the Bulldogs’ entire season. The Bulldogs would have had to settle for a share of the Ivy League title at best.

    “Beating those teams a second time will require immense focus and determination,” Greer said.

    The matches this weekend will test the consistency of the Bulldog team, who will have to compete in three tough matches in three consecutive days. The Elis could face Harvard again in the finals after its narrow 1 point victory over the Crimson last week.

    “We essentially have to be really consistent in every spot collectively over a three day period,” Reigeluth said. “As great as last weekend was, we can’t let down now. We have some challenging matches and everyone needs to contribute their piece.”

    Reigeluth was the hero of last weekend’s match against Harvard. With the match scored tied at 4–4 a piece, she fought her way to a five game victory, ensuring her team both the Ivy title and the No. 1 ranking.

    The team is looking to build off of last week’s success and does not want to lose focus of the task at hand. Greer stressed the importance of taking it one match at a time and concentrating on each individual match.

    “Being able to maintain the focus that we’ve had for the past six month,” Katie Ballaine ’13 said. “We’re coming off of an Ivy championship high, so we want to use this positive energy for a national title.”

    Yale’s match against Dartmouth begins at 4:30 p.m. in Princeton, N.J.

  10. M. SQUASH | Yale wins second consecutive Ivy title

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    The No. 2 Yale men’s squash team cruised past No. 6 Harvard on Saturday night en route to its second consecutive Ivy League title for the first time in the team’s history.

    The Bulldogs (13–1, 6–0 Ivy) defeated the Crimson (7–4, 3–3) 7–2 and prevented Princeton from having a share of the league title. Although the match did not have the excitement of their contest against No. 3 Princeton, the Elis made it clear that they were the better and fitter team from the beginning.

    “The loss at Trinity really hurt and the way the team has bounced back after has been great,” captain Naishadh Lalwani ’11. “Its exciting to turn our attention to our goal of finishing the year as national champions.”

    Richard Dodd ’13, John Roberts ’12 and Christopher Plimpton ’11 won their matches to get Yale off to a quick start.

    Dodd and Roberts both won their matches in four close games while Plimpton brushed aside his opponent in straight games.

    At the No. 3 position, Dodd dropped the second game 11–13 after coasting past Harvard’s Richard Hill in the first game. Though the competition stayed close for the remainder of the match, Dodd proved to be too strong for Hill.

    Roberts dropped the third game as Harvard’s Nigel Koh fought to stay in every rally and forced Roberts to hit extra shots. However, Roberts defeated Koh in the fourth game 11–7.

    “The hardest part was in the fourth trying to close it out,” Roberts said. “As it gets close to the end, it becomes hard to win points as he tries to stay in the match. The nerves begin to set in since you know what’s on the line.”

    Ryan Dowd ’12, John Fulham ’11, and Lalwani then secured victories at the No. 8, No. 5, and No. 2 spots, respectively, to secure the team’s second consecutive Ivy League title.

    “I completely believe that we have the strongest squash program in the country,” Lalwani said. “It’s clear that no team works as hard as we do and our success this season is due to all the work we do in the fall.”

    Dowd and Fulham both won their matches in straight games and looked untroubled. For Fulham and the other seniors on the team, it was their last regular season match of their college careers.

    Lalwani dismissed his opponent in straight games.

    “We have a lot of talent, but everyone on this team has worked incredibly hard to achieve what we have,” Dowd said.

    To Harvard’s credit, the Crimson won two of the remaining three matches despite guaranteed defeat. Hywel Robinson ’13 and Robert Berner ’12 lost their matches at the No. 1 and No. 7 spots, respectively. After winning the first game, Robinson dropped the next two consecutive games. However, he fought back to force a deciding fifth game. But Harvard’s Gary Power edged past Robinson in the final few points of the match, winning 12–10.

    Kenneth Chan ’13 rounded out the wins for Yale with a victory at the No. 4 position, 3–1.

    “It wasn’t that easy a match,” Chan said. “We came into the match confident and well prepared and dealt with business at Harvard to secure the Ivy title.”

    After securing the title, players immediately began looking forward to the matches next week at the National Championships at Harvard.

    “We have to make sure we get to Trinity first,” Robinson said. “There are a lot of tough teams in the national championships. But we have to get back on court first thing Monday morning.”

    The men will return to action this weekend in the CSA National Championships at Harvard.

  11. SQUASH | Title implications for squash

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    The men’s and women’s squash teams will head to Cambridge this Saturday to face Harvard in matches that have Ivy League title implications.

    The No. 2 men’s squash (12–1, 5–0 Ivy) will look to capture sole ownership of the league championship this week, as they have already won at least a share of the title with No. 3 Princeton after their win over No. 12 Brown and the Tiger’s defeat over No. 6 Harvard (7–3, 3–2) last weekend. A win against No. 1 Harvard (8–0, 5–0) for the No. 2 women’s team (13–0, 5–0) would give the Bulldogs their first Ivy League title in over five seasons and the No. 1 ranking going into the Howe Cup, the national championship that begins next weekend.

    “This is the position that we wanted to be in — to go to Harvard knowing that a win would mean an Ivy Title,” men’s captain Naishadh Lalwani ’11 said. “It’s great that we’ve been able to do that and now we just need to finish the job on Saturday.”

    The Bulldogs have had little trouble this season with Ivy League opponents except for a tightly contested 5–4 victory over No. 3 Princeton. Lalwani was the hero of that contest, coming through with the last match victory at the No. 4 position.

    Last year, the battle against the Crimson was one sided as Yale won 8–1. Harvard was unable to handle the depth of the Yale lineup, which Lalwani said has gotten even stronger this year.

    For Harvard, this weekend’s match against Yale will be a chance for redemption. Their loss to the Elis last season cost them a share of the Ivy League title.

    “It’s always tough playing Harvard away and we’re going to have to play our best if we want to win,” Lalwani said.

    For the women, this weekend’s match will be their biggest test of the season. Both Harvard, the defending national champions, and Yale are undefeated thus far, and the winner will take home the Ivy League title.

    The two teams faced off in the finals of the Ivy Scrimmages in the early stages of the season and Yale easily defeated Harvard, 6–3. Last year, the Crimson handily defeated Yale 7–2 in the regular season. In that match, the Bulldogs were given a huge beating, losing six matches in straight games.

    “We are playing for an Ivy League championship,” captain Logan Greer ’11 said. “We have worked toward this match all year and we are ready to step up and challenge Harvard.”

    Yale had a comfortable 9–0 victory over No. 10 Brown last weekend while Harvard defeated No. 3 Trinity, 7–2. The Elis defeated Trinity earlier this year 6–3.

    At the No. 1 position, No. 3 Greer will face Harvard’s Laura Gemmell, the top player in the country. Gemmell defeated Trinity’s Catalina Pelaez, who defeated Greer last month.

    “Our team needs to play with determination; that is, we need to refuse to lose,” Greer said. “By competing hard, by wearing Harvard down physically and mentally, we will be successful.”

    In their contest against Trinity, Harvard lost their match at the No. 3 position. Millie Tomlinson ’14, the No. 10 player in the country, will play at that spot on Saturday and is undefeated this season.

    “We have been building up to this match all season,” Sarah Toomey ’11 said. “Winning would mean an undefeated regular season and Ivy title.”

    The match begins at 1 p.m. for the women and 4 p.m. for the men.