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Berner Helps Break Record Streak

Robert Berner. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Robert Berner. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Lacrosse Teammates Get An Assist

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Robby Berner was with his lacrosse teammates last night during one of the most historic moments in the history of Yale Athletics, the men's squash team ending the longest ever winning streak in college sports. However, while most of the Bulldog men's lacrosse team watched their friends end Trinity's monumental string at 252 straight matches inside the Payne Whitney Gym, Berner was playing a crucial role in the highly publicized Yale victory.

The senior from Greenwich, Conn., is a two-sport Yale athlete who helped the Elis win an Ivy League Squash Championship last winter, while his lacrosse squad was coming off a 2010 Ivy title.

Berner, playing at No. 7 for the Eli men's team last night in front of a hundreds of people crammed into tight viewing areas, overcame an opening-game loss to win three straight and even the overall match for his team at 4-4. He was very motivated by his other team.

"My lacrosse teammates are incredibly supportive. They were here for all four and a half hours and front row watching my match. They loved the event and couldn't believe how exciting squash can be," said Berner.

The first matches of the night began about 6:15 and Berner and Trinity's Juan Flores did not play their first official ball until close to 9:00. Knowing his team trailed 4-3 heading into his contest, he bounced back from the early deficit to win 11-9, 11-6 and 11-8, setting off a roar from the huge crowd at the Brady Squash Center that grew louder as teammate John Roberts was finishing off a 3-1 decision 20 minutes later.

This victory was special for everyone who has ever been involved with the Yale squash program, but the current Bulldogs have a unique perspective.

"They started the winning streak before I ever picked up a squash racquet," said Berner.  "All I've ever known is Trinity winning college squash matches."

Berner, a backup midfielder for head coach Andy Shay's lacrosse team, was an All-New England pick at the Brunswick School before coming to New Haven.

"When I heard that the turning point of the contest would hinge on Berner's match, I knew Yale had very good chance to break the streak.  Robby hasn't had more then a few moments off in his Yale career academically or athletically," said Shay. "He's one of the toughest kids we have, both mentally and physically.  He deserves every bit of this, and I'm immensely proud of him."

Multiple-sport student-athletes are a rare breed, the squash-lacrosse combination is extremely rare at Yale. In fact, Berner is only the second (Francis Johnson) men's player with this unique duality during 29th year head coach Dave Talbott's tenure. Fortunately for Berner, he's already in great shape heading into the spring season.

"The first week coming back is tough, I'm a little behind and there is always a little bit of rust. While I don't make as big an impact in lacrosse as I do on the squash court, there are other ways to contribute," he said.

The senior Bulldog loves his experience at Yale and would never change anything. He also understands what's happening in sports and why he is being called a rare bird.

"I love both sports so much and could never have seen me giving up one in college. If you want to play a sport at a high level, you have to specialize because everyone is doing it. It's the way of the world."


Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director


Video of Robby Berner Closing Out his Match Against Trinity