With its past success and talent on the roster, it’s not all that surprising when Harvard’s men’s squash steps up and performs outstandingly.
Still, the No.3 Crimson continues to impress, as it rolled over No. 17 Brown in a 9-0 win in which all the Harvard players blanked their foes 3-0. The lopsided victory is Harvard’s fourth time sweeping its opponent in all nine matches this season.
The Crimson (14-1, 5-1 Ivy), which met the Bears (7-9, 0-6 Ivy) on Thursday night at the Kate Brodsky Memorial Squash Pavilion in Providence, was playing in one of its last conference matchups of the year, with only rivals Yale left on the regular season schedule.
“We won in total 27 games and didn’t drop any,” junior Ali Farag said, “which is just a huge win for the team. I know that looking at our two teams we were the stronger team on paper, but no one cashed it in and everyone played really hard and competed to get the win.”
The match was moved up to Thursday from Friday due to the snowstorm anticipated to rock the Northeast.
Three players from the Crimson squad reached 10 wins on the season. Junior Brandon McLaughlin was the fastest to the benchmark, and teammate Sam Goldberg and Tommy Mullaney soon followed suit.
Goldberg has shined as one of a handful of freshmen to see extended playing time in the varsity lineup. Playing at the eighth position, he beat out Charles Lebovitz, 11-3, 11-5, 11-8, to become the first freshman to reach ten wins.
“It feels good [getting ten wins],” Goldberg said. “It’s great to help out the team. I don’t care much about my personal record, what’s more important is that we’re all striving for the same goal and that I can contribute to the team.”
McLaughlin, playing second singles, got there first after winning one of the more lopsided matches of the day against Oliver Booth, 11-3, 11-1, 11-3. Mullaney was the third player to hit 10, with a straight-game win in the six slot, 11-3, 11-4, 11-3, over Michael Snower.
Farag and co-captain Jason Michas are both undefeated at 9-0 on the season. Farag, who has played at number one for most of the year and is the defending national champion, defeated Blake Reinson, 11-9, 11-8, 13-11, in one of the closer matches of the day to keep his unbeaten streak alive. Michas won a hard-fought second game and cruised through a third to win against the Bears’ Michael Snower, 11-3, 13-11, 11-3.
“It wasn’t our hardest match of the season,” Farag said, “but they still played very well and we had some hard matchups. But in the end we prepared well for them and we were ready for what they had in store.”
Junior Nigel Koh, playing at the third position, cruised through the first two games before winning a hard-fought decider to beat out Brown’s Eamon O’Connor, 11-3, 11-4, 12-10. At the fifth spot co-captain Zeke Scherl defeated Christopher Holter 11-2, 11-6, 11-8.
The team is looking forward towards its matchup next weekend against Yale, the last Ivy League match-play of the season. With national play still on the horizon, Harvard has the chance to grab a share of the Ivy title with a win against the Bulldogs.
“Our co-captains [Scherl and Michas] came out in the huddle and told us to use this match as a tune-up and confidence-booster for Yale next weekend,” Goldberg said. “And we’re ready, you know. We’re ready for our next big challenge, which is going to be going up against our rivals this Sunday.”
Farag echoed his teammate’s words.
“The only match we lost this season in Ivy League play was against the Tigers,” Farag said. “But now we have the chance to come back and take a share of the Ivy League title. So we’re going into next weekend with this in mind; that we’re coming out to play for a piece of the Ivy League title.”
The rest of the Harvard squad held up their end of the bargain, with players all pulling through for straight-set wins.
Walker Evans, the other freshman in the lineup on the day, played at the ninth spot and won out against his opponent, Alexander Hsu, 11-7, 11-4, 11-7. Alexander Ma, playing at seven, defeated his opponent in a shootout despite fierce competition from Brown’s Tod Holberton. Every game came fairly close, but Ma was able to hold off Holberton to win 11-9, 11-7, 11-8.
—Staff writer Alex L. Saich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.