Squash Teams Destroy All

This is getting silly.

The Harvard men's and women's squash teams continued their respective dominance over the entire nation this season, with both teams going undefeated and winning the national championship.

Of course, this is nothing new for anyone slightly familiar with Harvard squash. Coach Bill Doyle has only lost one match while at the helm of the two teams, racking up a combined 109-1 record and winning the national title in each of his four years.

And it wasn't a surprise to anyone when the streak stayed intact this season, as both teams overcame injuries and cruised to undefeated records and national titles.

For the men (15-0, 6-0 Ivy), bad news came early in the season when sophomore Dan Ezra was lost for the regular season due to a broken wrist. The favorite for one of the top two seeds, Ezra was the defending runner-up at the NISRA Singles Championships to co-captain Tal Ben-Shachar.


But the Crimson is nothing if not deep, having 19 players for matches in which only nine people play. So Ben-Shachar, who is also a Crimson editor, took over the No. 1 seed for much of the season, followed most of the time by sophomore Joel Kirsch, sophomore Rishaad Bilimoria, junior Andy Walter, senior Ted Bruenner and senior Mike Oh.

If there was any dropoff, it was sure hard to see. Ben-Shachar, Bruenner, Oh and sophomore Jeff Blumberg finished the season undefeated in match play, and everyone else was pretty close to their record.

The exciting points of the season came at the Princeton match in early February. The Tigers are the Crimson's main rivals and one of the few teams that can give Harvard a good game. The match did turn out to be rather close, as Harvard pulled out a 6-3 win.

Then, to end the regular season, Harvard faced off with Amherst, the only other team to be undefeated. The Crimson quickly fixed that, winning 9-0.

Harvard's next challenge was at the NISRA National Tournament at Yale, and all the Crimson had to do was beat teams that it had already faced. Harvard took care of Yale and Penn before beating Amherst, who had upset Princeton but couldn't pull off a second shocker.

In the NISRA singles tournament, three Harvard players--Ben-Shachar, Kirsch and Ezra--made the semifinals. Kirsch beat his teammate to reach the finals, where Ezra squeaked out the title.

The women (13-0, 5-0) faced similar problems--and similar results. Junior Lucy Cummings missed most of the season due to injury, forcing Harvard to use six freshmen on a consistent basis.

On many teams, that amount of youth would be a problem. But not with Harvard.

Sophomore Ivy Pochoda took most of the top seed duties, while co-captains Blair Clark and Erin Dockery took high seeds. Also starting were freshmen Ilana Eisenstein, Vanessa Hoermann, Leah Ramella, Stephanie Teaford, Lindsay Wilber and Brooke Herlihy.

And like the men, success followed Harvard wherever it went. Harvard won the Howe Cup tournament with a 6-3 win over Princeton, which along with an undefeated regular season undisputedly gave the Crimson the national title.

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