Win over No. 1 Yale puts men’s squash in the national title picture

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Tyler Osborne ’15 and the Tigers notched an 8-1 victory over No. 1 Yale Feb. 4. (Photo: Beverly Schaefer)
On the C-floor of Jadwin Gymnasium, the men’s squash team’s national championships are listed on a banner, which was last updated in 1993. Since then, the Tigers have claimed eight individual titles and reached the team championship match eight times; still, Princeton has not won the team trophy, often playing the role of bridesmaid during Trinity’s current streak of 13 titles.
 
Many think this year’s Tigers – two of whom were not even alive for Princeton’s last national championship – might be able to add a line to that banner. The team entered the season ranked No. 3 nationally, and a very young No. 1 Trinity squad seemed vulnerable, especially after its 252-match win streak came to an end at then-No. 2 Yale last month.
 
The Tigers faltered against their first top opponent, losing 7-2 at Trinity Feb. 1, but they got a chance to recover against the new top (Bull)dogs this weekend. A determined Princeton squad won three of the first four matches, but after suffering 5-4 losses to Yale in each of the last two years, the hosts could not afford to cede any momentum.
 
Playing at the No. 8 spot, Steve Harrington ’13 – who is also a regular on the baseball team, a rare two-sport combination – won the first two games but fell behind 8-2 in the third. With many of his teammates from the diamond watching, Harrington won six straight points and then staved off multiple game balls before finally winning 14-12.
 
Moments later, No. 1 Todd Harrity ’13 clinched the upset with a 3-0 match that took roughly as long as Harrington’s final game. Princeton went on to sweep the remaining pairings for a dominating 8-1 victory, earning pole position for its first Ivy League title in four years.
 
In two weeks, Princeton will get another chance to snap its 19-year national championship drought, a path that will likely include rematches with the Bulldogs and Bantams. In all three Princeton-Yale-Trinity matches so far, the home team came out on top – and the championship tournament will be held at Jadwin Feb. 17-19.
 
“We know that these are our courts,” Harrington said. “We’re going to have a target on our back, but we’d like to do it at home.”
 
Quick takes
 
  • Two levels higher in Jadwin, the WOMEN’S BASKETBALL team took care of business against Brown (57-45) and Yale (72-47) this weekend, remaining undefeated in conference play. Led by a suffocating, high-energy defense, Princeton could become just the fifth team in Ivy League history to go 14-0, making its juniors and seniors the first players to do so twice (they were 14-0 in 2010). Next week: The Tigers visit second-place Harvard at Lavietes Pavilion, the site of their only Ivy League loss in the last three seasons.

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    Ian Hummer ’13, seen here in action vs. Brown, scored his 1,000th career point in Princeton’s loss to Yale. The milestone basket came on a goaltending call. (Photo: Sam Rubinroit)
  • Meanwhile, the MEN’S BASKETBALL team’s title defense has not gone as well. The Tigers got smacked at Penn Jan. 30, surrendering 82 points in a slow-paced game to lose the first installment of this year’s rivalry series; after dismantling a weak Brown squad, they ran into problems on the other end of the court at Yale, dropping to 2-3 in conference play. Forward Ian Hummer ’13 scored his 1,000th career point in the loss in New Haven. Princeton will finish stronger, as seven of the final nine games are at Jadwin, but the championship hopes are gone. Even if the Tigers were to run the table – including home and road meetings with No. 23 Harvard – they’d need help to force a playoff.
  • One week after breaking his own program record in the 1,000 meters, MEN’S TRACK AND FIELD standout Peter Callahan ’13 broke the four-minute barrier in the mile at the Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup at Penn State on Saturday, winning the event in 3:58.86. With a stellar group of distance runners and some strong jumpers, the Tigers are ranked second in the Mid-Atlantic Region and will try to win their third straight indoor Ivy Heptagonal championship at the end of the month.
  • For the first 80 minutes, the WOMEN’S HOCKEY team’s tough road trip was going extremely well – the Tigers beat No. 10 Dartmouth 2-1 and led 1-0 at No. 8 Harvard. But the Crimson tied the game, then took the lead – and extended it eight more times for a 10-1 rout. The Tigers play their last four games at home and should comfortably qualify for the ECAC Tournament, but they’ll have to go on the road as the sixth or seventh seed.
 

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Kevin Whitaker ’13 is an economics major and Daily Princetonian sports editor.

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