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Last week, they dusted Brown. They toasted Trinity. And Saturday, the Harvard men's squash team (3-0 overall, 2-0 Ivy) closed out its week of speed squash, hastily putting Cornell back on the road to cozy lthaca, N.Y. (2-4 overall, 0-3 Ivy).
The Cornell squash team, which rejoined the Ivy League last year after a 15-year hiatus, graduated its bulwark player, All-American number-one seed Paul Gardner. Without a stronghold of incoming players to rely on, it's having difficulty adjusting to the changes this year.
For the Crimson, the 9-0 win completes Harvard's perfect season record thus far; against three rivals, no one in the top nine has yielded a single match. Harvard 27. Opponents 0.
Co-Captain Raja Mahidhara gave nothing, except a headache, to Big Red's Clayton Sparks. In his second of three games, Mahidhara served, returned, served, served and served again--14 times, surrendering only one game point to Sparks.
At seventh and ninth seeds, Josh Horwitz and Bobby Greenhill were off the courts almost before they got on. After tallying only two points in his first game against Greenhill, Big Red's Swapnil Shah got angry, but not even Greenhill's hug-the-wall rails deposed Shah after three.
But if George Polsky was playing games with his opponent, he played two too many. Rusty from a year off, Polsky played a tight five-game match, winning the final one in an overset match point.
"If Ronald [McDonald] hasn't cooked a burger in a year, do you think the first one he makes after that year is good," Polsky asked. "Nope, it just won't be like they used to be, but people still won't go to Burger King. The grill may be a bit old, the ingredients a little soggy, but once Ron adds that special sauce, the burgers will be the same as before."
At first seed, Marty Clark had some trouble putting the ball to bed. Opponent Richard Chin, who pulled out one of Cornell's two victories in last year's match, came out with a vengeance. He beat Clark in the first two matches. Clark, however, pulled out, first his cannon serve, then his criss-cross, to post the victory.
The Big Red's In Kim, playing three seeds higher than last year, failed to repeat his decisive four-game victory from one year ago. Co-Captain Jon Masland played points analogous to cucumbers--long and cool--sinking Kim in three games.
He's Not a Geranium
With fifth seed Farokh Pandole, sixth seed Adrien Ezra and ninth seed Neal Tew absent, Saturday's victory testifies to the depth and flexibility of this year's team. If all the nine lives of the squash team are healthy in early January, the team national championship in Atlanta is well within reach.
Crimson, 9-0 at Hemenway Gym
1. Marty Clark (HARVARD) d. Richard Chin (Cornell), 12-15, 10-15, 15-14, 17-15, 15-8; 2. Jeremy Fraiberg (H) d. Kevin Klipstein (C), 15-4, 16-5, 15-10; 3. Jonny Kaye (H) d. Nick Bumstead (C), 11-15, 15-9, 15-11, 15-11; 4. George Polsky (H) d. Mark Brevers (C), 15-11, 16-3, 14-18, 9-15, 16-15; 5. Jon Karlen (H) d. John Mao (C), 12-15, 15-8, 15-14, 15-8; 6. Jon Masland (H) d. In Kim (C), 15-4, 15-7, 15-8. 7. Josh Horwitz (H) d. Anuj Bhagwati (C), 15-7, 15-8, 15-5; 8. Raja Mahidhara (H) d. Clayton Sparks (C), 15-6, 15-1, 15-6; 9. Bobby Greenhill (H) d. Swapnil Shah (C), 15-2, 15-7, 15-7.
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