Men's: Pat Riley Outdone--Forget Three-Peat, It's Time for Six-Peat
Calling the last few years of Harvard men's squash "successful" would be an extreme understatement. The Crimson have won the past five national championships and show no signs of slowing down.
The addition of strong players such as transfer Joel Kirsch, combined with the return of its top three players, puts Harvard in seemingly invincible shape.
Returning are senior Tal Ben-Shachar, sophomore Daniel Ezra and sophomore Rishaad Bilimoria. They were Harvard's number one, two and three players, respectively, last season. The only key loss appears to be that of Mike Masland, who usually played in the number four position last year.
Still, as it past years, the abundance of talent and the Crimson's past performances has not caused Harvard to become overconfident.
"Our goals for the season are to get better both as individuals and as a team," said Ben-Shachar. "The only way for us to prepare for the season is to look to improve."
The Crimson will face all of the teams in the Ivy League in addition to Trinity, Franklin and Marshall, Williams, Amherst, Rochester and Navy. Princeton and Penn will pose the only serious threat to Harvard's quest for a six-peat.
Despite the probability of a sixth straight national championship, the Crimson are still going about its business as usual.
"We don't want to get overconfident," Bilimoria said. "There's a lot of good competition for us within the team so we get a lot of practice."
The Harvard squash program is one of the best collegiate programs in the country, and it looks like nothing much will change that assessment this coming year. Pat Riley won two straight NBA titles with the Lakers and called it a dynasty. One wonders what he would have called Harvard men's squash.
Women's: More Than A Dynasty
The Harvard women's squash team is working on a streak of its own. The Crimson has won four national championships in a row and seem as likely as the men's team to win again.
While the women's team has suffered losses to graduation, it has gained much in the way of new talent. The biggest loss for the Crimson was number one player Libby Eynon.
"Libby was a great player and a lot of fun," said senior Eric Dockery. "We miss her a lot."
However, the arrival of a strong freshman class should ease the pain of Eynon's loss. In addition, several top players are returning. The top returning players are Blair Clark (who usually played number two last year), Ivy Pochoda and Dockery.