Harvard Falls Short of Breaking Streak
Bantams overpower Crimson in final match to take 5-4 victory
The Murr Center could barely contain the animosity as No. 2 Harvard hosted No. 1 Trinity College in a premier showdown last night. The mutual dislike between the two top teams continued to boil as the game hinged on the final match. After trailing 2-1 early on, the men’s squash team tied the total at four matches apiece, but could not secure the final tally. The 5-4 loss marks the Crimson’s first defeat this season.
The loss leaves a sour taste in the mouths of some Harvard players.
"We want to be national champions but we have to beat Trinity," captain Ilan Oren said. "They have had an eight-year winning streak and we really wanted to break it."
The victory for the Bantams (17-0) marks their 161st consecutive win, however, Harvard (4-1) remains optimistic about future possibilities.
"We came very close today and traditionally we always manage to do better the second time we play them," Oren said.
The next time the two squads meet could potentially be in two weeks at the CSA National Championships, but until then, the Crimson will review last night’s matchups to determine what went wrong and where improvements can be made.
The Bantams commanded an early 2-1 match lead before the Crimson suddenly surged forward with strong performances in the number one and two games. Oren dominated the second spot in straight matches to give his teammates a boost of confidence.
"That what I was trying to do," Oren said. "I was trying to win convincingly and put the pressure on the Trinity boys. I was letting the other players know that they could rely on me and the other seniors."
If the Bantams weren’t feeling the heat yet, No. 1 Sidd Suchde played Shaun Johnstone in an emotionally charged matchup. After much heckling by the largely pro-Crimson fans in attendance, Johnstone flipped the bird to the crowd between points only to incite more anger. The mental manipulation must have had some effect as Suchde overcame Johnstone in straight games to tie the meet at four games apiece.
"You are playing for so much more, you are playing for the team," Suchde said. "The important thing was to lead the team and encourage them. My win is just one point on the scorecard."
However, that one point added so much to what was at stake. At the conclusion of the number one match, the number seven game still continued. It was here that the winner would be decided. Despite a hard-fought battle, Supreet Singh secured the victory for Trinity with a win over sophomore Niko Hrdy.
Although painful, the loss, along with the squash team’s optimism, will be used as a learning experience for future games.
"You get rewarded by your work not for your work," Crimson coach Satinder Bajwa said. "The motivation today is that we have two weeks to go further."
"The season is very hard to come in day in and day out and do things," Bajwa added. "When you get a 5-4 loss, which is a hell of a result, it can only motivate you. I would like to think that the Trinity match today is going to boost us."
The men’s squash team has one day of rest before it can use the emotion from this game. The squad will travel to Penn tomorrow and Princeton on Saturday to attempt to maintain its perfect record (3-0) in the Ivies.
—Staff writer Vincent R. Oletu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.