The Dartmouth men’s and women’s squash teams are still in search of their first Ivy League wins this season after both teams lost to Yale University 9-0 on Friday in New Haven. Both teams also were defeated by Trinity College 9-0 on Sunday.
In a back-and-forth season with wins against Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Franklin and Marshall College and Williams College, the men’s team, which is 3-8 overall and 0-6 in conference play, has struggled to find its footing as of late, losing six straight matches in January.
With eight of nine individual matches resulting in 3-0 defeats against Yale Friday, Dartmouth was unable to maintain momentum throughout its individual matches. Christian Shah ’25 fell 2-3 in the fifth position, nearly completing a comeback to give the Big Green its first victory of the day.
Senior captain Jason Montima ’22 saw the match against Yale as a way for the team to get ready for the next stage.
“Yale was a good team and they showed up to play on Friday evening,” Montima said. “Looking back on it, I think everyone on our team knows that we could’ve left a bit more out there, but we had guys battle and we got to play high quality players, which is only going to better prepare us for nationals in a couple of weeks.”
With early wins against Franklin and Marshall College, Georgetown University and Williams College, the women’s team has also been unable to find success in Ivy League competition. Sunday’s loss brings the squad to a 3-8 overall record and a 0-6 league record.
Several Big Green players pushed their individual matches to four games, ultimately falling short of victory. Emma Supattapone ’24 and Jesse Brownell ’23 lost in four games in the first and second positions, respectively. Emily Schuster ’24, Emma Mactaggart ’22 and Caroline Mollenkopf ’22 also pushed their individual matches to four games, ultimately losing 3-1 as well. In the ninth position, Priya Verma ’24 went to five games but could not secure the victory.
“We were very competitive in a few matches,” head coach Vikram Malhotra said. “We are as competitive as those top teams, but right now I would say that we are one level below. We just need to convert those winning games, because Yale comes in and converts those games. I feel yesterday, a lot of our players lacked belief — they are winning and they are surprised, even though we put in the work.”
Emily Schuster ’24 also said she believes her team will do better once their mental game is stronger.
“Once we overcome the mental hurdle required to close, the team as a whole I think will have a much better shot at winning for our school,” Schuster said. “We’re going to now start playing some more beatable teams, which is exciting after all the tough competition we’ve had for the past few weeks and will allow us to build confidence before nationals and practice our mental toughness.”
Malhotra remains confident about his teams moving forward with the remainder of the season.
“Everyone is motivated with nothing to lose,” Malhotra said. “So just making sure to go out there and compete and be fearless will only make us stronger, and that’s the goal.”
Montima echoed his coach’s statements.
“The goal for the rest of the season is to win out,” Montima said. “We have three regular season matches left and then head into nationals with one goal in mind and that is to win the Hoehn Cup, both of which are very much attainable with the talent that we have in our locker room.”
The Trinity match on Sunday also held special importance for Malhotra, a former Trinity player and coach.
“Trinity is where I learned a lot about squash, and now, coaching against them is definitely weird,” Malhotra said. “But our main importance is going out there and competing.”
Sunday’s loss marked the sixth consecutive Ivy League defeat for both the men’s and the women’s teams. Both hope to break their losing streaks at Brown University on Feb. 12.