With two wins against top-tier teams in the last two weeks—against then-No. 4 Rochester and No. 6 Cornell—the Harvard men’s squash team entered Yale’s Brady Squash Center hoping to stretch its recent unbeaten streak to five Sunday afternoon.
But the third-ranked Bulldogs had other ideas. After topping the Crimson in four of the day’s first six matches, Yale resisted a late Harvard comeback, earning the 5-4 win.
“We were disappointed with the result,” said Harvard assistant coach Reg Schonborn. “I think [Yale] played a little bit better…. We’re a young team, and I think our inexperience showed tonight. They played better in crucial areas of the match.”
“They were playing at home in their last match of the season. They have four seniors and it was sort of their last hurrah,” said co-captain Will Ahmed, who played at the No. 11 spot for the Crimson (14-3, 5-2 Ivy). “It looked overall like they wanted to make it the best match that they could.”
Yale (14-1, 6-1) got off to a strong start in the first cycle, taking two of three matches in the opening round.
Harvard co-captain Jason Michas won his match in three games at the No. 9 spot. But freshman Nick Hopcroft and sophomore Nigel Koh, who is also a Crimson business editor, did not have as much success at the No. 3 and No. 6 positions, respectively.
Hopcroft dropped his match in three games, while Koh battled to a five-game loss despite holding a 2-1 lead.
“You can talk about the should-haves and the could-haves, but [Koh’s match] was a tough one to lose,” Schonborn said.
Down 2-1 heading into the second cycle, the Crimson picked up one more victory. Junior Zeke Scherl earned the second-round win for Harvard at the No. 8 position, taking down his Bulldog counterpart in four matches despite dropping the first.
Freshman Tyler Olson lost his match at the No. 5 spot in three, 11-9, 11-7, 11-4.
“Tyler had a bit of a tough match,” Schonborn said. “He couldn’t really find an answer [Sunday], but he’s a tough player who has done really well for the team so far. He’ll bounce back.”
Sophomore Brandon McLaughlin also struggled at the No. 2 spot, picking up a second-game victory but ultimately falling in four.
Harvard won its first match of the final cycle, with sophomore Ali Farag taking down Yale’s Kenneth Chan, 11-6, 11-6, 11-3. With the win, Farag finished off an undefeated regular season and closed the gap against Yale to 4-3 overall.
Next to finish was freshman Julian Kirby. The rookie looked poised to even the overall score at four after tying his match with Yale’s Samuel Clayman at two games apiece. But Clayman took the final two games, 11-9 and 11-6, securing the overall win for the Bulldogs.
Playing at the No. 4 spot, sophomore Gary Power—the last Crimson player on the court—earned a five-game victory for the Crimson. The effort came too late, as Yale had already secured a game-clinching 5-3 lead, but the sophomore helped Harvard narrow the gap and come away with a 5-4 finish.