Men’s squash spent last weekend on the road, travelling to Lancaster, Penn., to take on Franklin and Marshall on Saturday before facing No. 4 Princeton and No. 22 George Washington at the Tigers’ home facility in Princeton, N.J., on Saturday. Coming into the weekend with Nationals just one week away, the Ephs looked to build on last week’s momentum from a second place finish in NESCAC. After a shaky start at Franklin and Marshall that saw Williams come dangerously close to defeat but walk away victorious, the men gave two sharp displays at Princeton that will give the team confidence going into Nationals.
Sunday’s doubleheader against Princeton, the reigning Ivy League champions, and George Washington proved to be a strong performance for Williams. While the Princeton was looking to grab an easy win, Williams sought to exploit some critical weaknesses in the Princeton lineup and to take a few matches from the team that had threatened Trinity for its national title last season. The team succeeded in its goal with its depth making the difference, as Nick Marks ’13 at No. 5 and tri-captain Bernard Yaros ’10 at No. 9 punched through the Princeton lineup to score 3-0 victories for Williams. Julian Drobetsky ’13 very nearly added a third win for the Ephs, falling 11-9 in the fifth game after an exhausting match. The Ephs ultimately fell 7-2 in the match, but the two victories were impressive given Princeton’s talent.
Less than an hour after concluding their battle against Princeton, the men again took to the courts for a final match against George Washington. Ryan Eagan ’13 and Jared Zuckerman ’12 stepped in at No. 9 and No. 8 respectively, while tri-captain Christian Henze ’10 and Alec Greaves-Tunnell ’13 rested after long matches against Princeton. The George Washington men provided some surprisingly strong resistance, but each Eph gave all he had to secure a win, and the men finished the weekend with a 9-0 victory.
On Saturday, No. 12 Franklin and Marshall had proved a stiff challenge for Williams, forcing a down-to-the-wire ordeal that proved that the Diplomats are a rising national power. Exceptionally warm conditions on the Diplomats’ home courts and a slow start for the Ephs left the men in desperate circumstances with only three matches remaining. Surprising upsets at No. 4 and No. 6 and hard-fought losses against the Diplomats’ formidable top two brought the Ephs to the brink of defeat, as the Ephs had secured two swift victories at the eighth and ninth positions courtesy of Yaros and Jeremy Herrmann ’11 for an overall score of 4-2 with three matches left to play. In the final round of matches, Marks and Drobetsky were able to close out prolonged battles at No. 5 and No. 7, leaving Henze to finish it off at No. 3. Henze had secured a commanding lead, but both players fought on bitterly: In the end, Henze was able to overpower and outplay his opponent, finishing the tense matchup with a spectacular drop shot, winning the last set 11-7.
When asked about Saturday’s tough matchup, Yaros attributed Williams’ difficulties to the general difficulties of playing on the road. “Once again, we faced a weekend of match play in which we had to deal with a whole host of unfavorable circumstances: a long, early morning bus ride that always has the effect of stultifying the mind and body as well as different court conditions that took a lot of getting used to,” he said. “Despite these challenges, we all rose to the occasion, coming through in a tight 5-4 win against a hungry F&M team.”
Head Coach Zafi Levy agreed. “I thought the team played very well this week. Friday’s match was extremely close, but we were all thrilled to see our captain Christian Henze come up huge and win a decisive match,” he said. “Against Princeton, the team played very well … We pushed them hard and Nick [Marks] and Bernard [Yaros] played great matches. Overall it was a very successful weekend.”
The conclusion of Williams’ season will see them travelling to Yale for a bid in the ‘B’ draw of Nationals on Saturday before the Individual Nationals the following weekend.