A lot has changed for the men’s squash team over the last year. The Tigers entered this season without two players from the top five spots on the ladder — most notably Todd Harrity ’13, the three-time CSA national finalist and 2011 champion. It would also be the first time in 32 years that Princeton would take the court not under the training of Hall of Famer Bob Callahan ’77, the head coach that led Princeton to the legendary 2012 national championship over Trinity and retired last year.
The Tigers finished the year with a 5-7 overall, 3-4 Ivy League record after dropping their final match of the regular season 6-3 to Cornell. And although this year’s seniors finished their collegiate squash careers without Callahan or an Ivy League title, they made sure to end them on a personal high note.
Seniors Ash Egan and Dylan Ward both earned victories in their final collegiate match on the Jadwin Gymnasium C-floor. Ward, playing at the No. 3 spot, dominated his match in three games and only gave up eight points. It was fitting that the courts where he played his last match at Jadwin were where he won victories in the 2012 national championship and the 2013 Harvard match that led Princeton to that year’s Ivy title. Egan got off to a rockier start, dropping his opening game at No. 8 before winning the next three to earn the victory.
“I was happy to finish my home career on a high note,” Egan said. “It was a hard fought battle against a solid team.”
New head coach Sean Wilkinson — the eighth men’s squash coach in Princeton’s 83-year-old program — hopes to have a more definitively positive ending at the looming CSA team championship after a season of mixed results. The team championships, hosted by Harvard in Boston, are just two weeks away, and Wilkinson will be heavily relying on his seniors as well as his top two players in the flight, All-America juniors Samuel Kang and Tyler Osbourne. Rookie Ben Leizman has also put in some solid matches at the No. 9 position.
“The season has been a series of valleys and peaks,” Ward explained. “Collectively, the guys have dealt with our situation calmly and unified. Sean has managed to make it a smooth transition, considering the shoes he has to fill since Bob retired from the program last year.”
Last year Princeton suffered a disappointing 5-4 loss to Harvard in the championship semifinals before beating Yale and finished third in the nation. For now, the Tigers must wait for the draw that determines next weekend’s bracket information. Wilkinson’s rookie year has been a balancing act between old and new, and the new coach will be looking to lead the team to old heights.
Men’s tennis had an impressive weekend in Jadwin Gym, picking up a win on Saturday over Marquette and doubleheader sweep of Boston College and Monmouth on Sunday. The Tigers now stand at 5-0 for the first time since 1979.
Women’s water polo jumped out to a perfect start with a 3-0 sweep at this weekend’s Princeton Invitational. Sophomore goalie Ashleigh Johnson broke her own single-game Princeton saves record in the game against Wagner, eclipsing her previous record of 19 with 20 this time around. The No. 9 Tigers travel to Lewisburg, Pa., next weekend for the Bucknell Invitational.
Women’s fencing won its fifth straight Ivy League title on Sunday and its eighth since 1999. The victory marks 47 straight dual match wins for Princeton. Seven Tigers earned All-Ivy honors, including four first-team honorees. Princeton will play at the Temple Duals on Feb. 22 and will go on a month long hiatus before the NCAA Championships begin in late March.
The wrestling team swept all three of its opponents in New England this season, ensuring the first winning season for the Tigers since 2001. The pinnacle of the squad’s dramatic weekend was Saturday’s 23-20 thrilling win at Boston University, in which sophomore Abe Ayala clinched the comeback victory. The Tigers (8-2 overall, 2-1 Ivy League) will attempt to seal a winning Ivy League season against Columbia on Friday in Dillon Gymnasium.