Men's Squash Places Third at CSA Team Championships

Robert F Worley

Freshman Nick Hopcroft, shown here in earlier action, finished 2-1 at this weekend’s CSA Men’s Team Championships. Playing at the No. 4 spot, Hopcroft lost his first match against Manchester before topping his Trinity and Cornell opponents. Harvard took third place at the tournament.

For the first time in 13 years, a new Potter Cup champion was crowned, as the No. 2 Princeton men’s squash team came from behind to take the title from long-time defending champion Trinity, 5-4, Sunday night in Princeton, N.J.

The Tigers’ win was the No. 1 Bantams’ second historic loss of the year, as Trinity fell to No. 3 Yale on Jan. 18, ending a 252-game unbeaten streak. And as of Sunday afternoon, the Bantams’ run  of consecutive CSA Men’s Team Championships ended at 13. Both streaks were the longest in the history of intercollegiate athletics.

“The trend over the last few years has been increasing parity between teams,” sophomore Tommy Mullaney said. “Everybody is recruiting very aggressively and training very hard, so what used to be the Trinity juggernaut above everybody else has now given way a little bit to a whole tier of teams. On any given day, you can see any one of them pulling out a victory.”

Despite being bounced from championship contention in the national semifinals by none other than Trinity, the No. 4 Harvard men’s squash team (16-4, 5-2 Ivy) finished the weekend on a high note, earning the No. 3 spot in the nation with a victory in the consolation finals over Cornell. The mark is Harvard’s best finish in the Potter Cup since 2007.

“It’s a great step for us,” Mullaney said. “Everyone went into tournament with the goal of contending to win, and I think we did just that. [We] contended admirably and gave it a good strike. Obviously, we’re still very young team, but this weekend gave us a great foundation for us to build off of in coming years.”

HARVARD 5, CORNELL 4

In a rematch of last year’s fifth-place matchup, Harvard and No. 6 Cornell once again played to a 5-4 Crimson victory.

Although the Big Red got off to a strong start, going up, 2-1, after the first cycle, Harvard battled back, evening the score at three individual wins apiece.

“Our match against Cornell was a defining moment of weekend,” Mullaney said. “After losing a pretty crushing defeat, we got back up dusted ourselves off the next morning and gutted out a win…. It took a lot of heart from all the guys on the team.”

In the final round, sophomore Ali Farag and rookie Nick Hopcroft came up big for the Crimson, picking up wins over their Cornell opponents to secure the Harvard victory.

Sophomore Brandon McLaughlin, junior co-captain Jason Michas, and Mullaney also picked up wins for the Crimson.

The Big Red—which made it to the semifinal round following an 8-1 upset over the Yale—earned its best finish in school history, claiming fourth place overall.

TRINITY 6, HARVARD 3

Coming off of a 6-3 win over No. 5 Rochester in the opening round of the CSA Team Championships, the Crimson found itself matched up against the 13-time defending national champs in the semifinals Saturday night.

“Trinity’s steak is absolutely incredible,” Hopcroft said. “It’s a huge credit to that program and all of the players who played there. Eventually, any streak is going to come to an end, and it’s unfortunate for them that it happened this year.... All of college squash is a lot more open now.”

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