Men's squash upsets Princeton for first time in Ivy League history

by Matt Yuen | 1/11/16 7:00pm

Dartmouth’s men’s squash team continues its trend of making history by defeating then-No. 11 Princeton University 8-1 for the first time in Ivy League history on Saturday before losing a nail-biter to new No. 1 University of Pennsylvania 4-5. The Big Green took down Harvard University 5-4 in December for the team’s first win against the Crimson in nearly 70 years. Dartmouth’s weekend brings the Big Green to 5-2 on the season.

With the victory against Princeton, the Big Green continues its journey to qualify for the National Team Championship Potter Cup. Dartmouth entered the weekend ranked No. 7 in the nation, so the game was crucial for the team to stay in the top eight ranks and qualify for the Potter Cup.

Last year, the Big Green fell to the Tigers twice 3-6. This year, with a stronger squad and six months of hard work, Dartmouth’s men’s squash team stormed onto its home courts with a vengeance and dominated Princeton.

“We lost a really tough match to them last year, which we could have and should have won,” head coach Hansi Wiens said. “We knew we were stronger on paper, but you actually have to go in there and win the match. Our team did a great job yesterday.”

Although the victory against Princeton was a testament to the improvement ofthe squash team, the huge crowds on Dartmouth’s sidelines helped turn the tide in the Big Green’s favor.

“[Princeton’s game] was probably the most fun I’ve ever had playing squash just because my friends were there,” Samuel Epley ’19 said. “They were going crazy and having a good time. They were even wearing burglar masks in the stands.”

Epley said that playing at home created a positive environment, adding that it was fun to see people come out for squash matches — something that doesn’t happen at every school.

“I would like to say thanks to the fans for coming out,” Epley said. “[Playing squash this season has] been pretty much the most exciting thing I’ve ever done.”

With the historic victories over Princeton and Harvard fueling their confidence, the men’s squash team was eager to play against Penn the next day on Dartmouth’s home courts.

Throughout the game, the two teams were neck-and-neck. After two rounds, Dartmouth and Penn were tied 3-3, meaning the final round would decide it all.

Alvin Heumann ’18 said that the team knew the match against Penn would be close, because Harvard defeated Penn 6-3 and the Big Green defeated Harvard 5-4.

“Our mentality last night and this morning was to put everything into it, fight hard, and the results would come,” said Heumann.

Heumann added that while the game came down to the wire and ended in a loss, everyone played really well.

While Dartmouth still suffered a loss to Penn, the close game marks a significant improvement from last year. Last year, the Quakers decisively defeated Dartmouth 7-2. This year, Dartmouth closed the margin to 5-4, in a game that could have gone either way.

Wiens said that Dartmouth and then-No. 2 ranked Penn were equally deep, down to the very last player. He added that every Dartmouth player played well and did what was asked of him.

Dartmouth continues its homestand against Drexel University next Saturday.