It was a busy weekend on the road for the squash teams, as the Tigers opened Ivy League play with mixed results.
On Saturday, the Tigers traveled to Boston, where the No. 7 men’s team hoped to avenge last year’s crushing 4-5 CSA Championship semifinal loss to now-No. 2 Harvard. Princeton (3-3 overall, 1-1 Ivy League), however, came up empty-handed again as Harvard (6-1, 2-1) dropped the Tigers 9-0.
Senior Dylan Ward nearly put Princeton on the board in his match at the No. 3 spot. Ward, who had clinched Princeton’s last two regular-season wins over Harvard, was up 2-1 before his opponent Dylan Murray pulled out two 11-9 wins to take the match.
Juniors Tyler Osborne, playing at the No. 2 spot, and Taylor Turtone, playing at No. 8, also played tight games against their opponents, with each falling in five. Classmate Samuel Kang held his own against 2012 national champion Ali Farag, who dropped his first collegiate squash match in three years to Todd Harrity ’13.
“Considering Harvard didn’t lose any players in their top seven going into this season, we knew we were going to be facing a very deep team on Saturday, ” Ward said. “I’m proud of how our guys fought out there. Unfortunately, points didn’t break our way at crucial moments in all of our close matches. We lost three five-game matches, including mine, by a combined seven points. We’re all aware of the steps needed to close that gap.”
The women’s squad did not fare much better against the Crimson either, due in part to an injury that kept senior Libby Eyre from playing in the Tigers’ (5-1, 1-1) Ivy opener, in which No. 4 Princeton fell 3-6 to No. 1 Harvard (6-0, 3-0).
Junior Alex Lunt (No. 4), junior Hallie Dewey (No. 6) and freshman Alexandra Toth (No. 9) all ground out wins and just missed out on another victory at the No. 7 spot from sophomore Tara Harrington.
The Tigers rebounded the next day in a big way with a 9-0 victory over Dartmouth. Harrington saw a tough match for the second time in two days — she fell 13-11 in the opener and was forced to claw her way to 11-8, 11-7 and 11-3 victories in the next three games to take the match.
The Tigers now have almost a three-week break for finals and will return to play Penn, where Princeton will try to rebound from the third-place match loss to the Quakers at last year’s Howe Cup.
The men’s squad also had more success with the Big Green (1-4, 0-3). The Tigers took a 7-2 victory, only dropping matches at the No. 4 and No. 7 spots. Sophomore Sam Ezratty fought for an especially difficult win at the No. 8 spot, coming back from a 2-1 deficit to win. Kang had the second toughest match, being pushed to a fourth game but then easily winning it 11-0. The men will also enter a longer break and will play the Quakers upon return on Jan. 27.
“Taking out Dartmouth was a step in the right direction, and I’m confident we’ll be hitting our stride with Penn and Trinity two weeks from now,” Ward said.