Riding a three-match win streak, the No. 3 Harvard men’s squash team took on two conference opponents this weekend in No. 11 Columbia and No. 5 Cornell at the Murr Center.
The Crimson (13-1, 4-1 Ivy) handily defeated the Lions, 8-1, on Saturday afternoon. Harvard did not suffer a letdown the next day, going on to dispatch the Big Red on Sunday, 6-3.
The Crimson’s last conference game came against Princeton on Jan. 13, where Harvard fell in a tight, 5-4 decision.
“Today everyone played well, because we could have easily lost had we played the same way as we did [in our earlier loss] against Princeton,” sophomore Tyler Olson said. “I think it shows character that we came back and everyone played well and put it together.”
HARVARD 6, CORNELL 3
In its second conference showdown in as many days, Harvard edged out a 6-3 victory over Cornell (12-3, 3-2).
The Big Red, which had won seven of its last eight matches with the sole loss coming to No. 2 Trinity, made things tough on the Crimson. Only two matches were decided in straight sets, and they both went down as Harvard victories.
“Cornell today, especially the men, were bloody good,” said Crimson coach Mike Way, who also coaches the women’s side. “And for us to win, 6-3, it might have been 7-2 but could easily have been 5-4. Either way, some of the matches were that close.”
Junior defending national champion Ali Farag was responsible for one of those three-set victories, once again dispatching his opponent in convincing fashion. Farag has never lost in his Harvard career.
The other sweep came at the No. 8 position. Senior Jason Michas secured a convincing win, but each set was decided by three points or fewer.
None of the other Crimson wins came easily, as three of the victories came in four sets and one went the full five-set distance.
“I thought that a couple of our guys might reflect and wish they had done things a little bit differently, but overall we should be well pleased with how they played,” Way said. “They played terrific squash.”
Junior Tommy Mullaney demonstrated his resilience at the No. 6 position. After dropping the first two games, Mullaney came back to win the final three sets, each by just two points.
Fellow juniors Brandon McLaughlin and Gary Power, along with freshman Matt Roberts, all achieved comeback victories against the Big Red. Each player dropped the first set but stormed back to win the next three games.
McLaughlin especially turned the tide, as the junior stormed back to take the final two sets by scores of 11-2 and 11-4.