Should Harvard even bother sending the men's squash team to the NISRA Team Championships March 4 and 5? Harvard 8 Amherst 1
The answer appears to be no. After destroying another highly ranked opponent two days ago, there is little doubt--barring a natural disaster--that the squashers will not take home their fifth straight national championship. And while the team argues that the championship is far from money in the bank, everything points in that direction.
So, why send the team?
Monday night, Amherst was the latest victim of the machine that is the Harvard men's squash team. The unbeaten racquetmen (11-0 dual, 5-0 Ivy) dismantled a hapless group of Hersters, 8-1.
Sigh, just another team to add to the Crimson's unprecedented 24 straight dual meet winning streak.
Does the word dynasty come to mind? While the Harvard Office of Sports Information looks for new ways to describe the carnage (the press release for the match contained the words "ripped out Amherst's heart"), coach Bill Doyle has kept his charges surprisingly humble.
"Our coach has made us stay focused," freshman Daniel Ezra said. "We cannot sit back and relax. We must play to win, because otherwise we won't play at all."
Captain Tal Ben-Shachar, Ezra and Rashaad Bilimoria played the first, second and third spots, respectively, against number four ranked Amherst. Each overwhelmed his opponent, 3-0.
Ted Bruenner, Andy Walter and Mike Oh played fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively. Each overwhelmed his opponent, 3-0.
Jeff Blumberg and Joe Kaplan played eight and nine, respectively. Each overwhelmed his opponent, 3-0.
Are you starting to see a pattern here? The only Harvard player to lose a match--a close 3-2--against Amherst was Mike Masland. In fact, Masland was the only Harvard player to drop a game.
"The guy Mike played was actually pretty good," Ezra said.
Harvard finishes dual meet play for the season next Wednesday night against seventh-ranked Yale. Although the match does figure in the team' smind, it is really a tune-up for NISRA.
"We're using each match to focus as much as we can," Ezra said. "We are trying to make as few mistakes in each match. Each match we try to improve our concentration."
And, as the Phoenix Suns will readily admit, the regular season means nothing if you cannot succeed in the postseason.
"That's what the season basically comes down to--the tournament," Ezra said.