Dec. 6, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - In their season opener Saturday afternoon at the Brady Squash Center, the No. 3 Bulldogs made a statement against No. 7 Penn, taking out their Ivy League opponents 8-1. Yale won the first five matches of the day 3-0 en route to the decisive victory.
Senior Colin Campbell set the tone early at No. 6, controlling the match from start to finish. His victory was followed by a strong showing from sophomore Michael Maruca at No. 9, who allowed just 14 points in his 3-0 win. Junior Todd Ruth finished off his opponent 3-0 next in a physical match at No. 3.
"The thing I saw most was that our team was definitely fitter and physically stronger," said head coach Dave Talbott. "We were in better shape in all the matches across the board."
Freshman John Roberts showed no signs of nervousness in his regular season Yale debut, allowing only two points to Penn senior Andrew Zimmerman in a 3-0 win. Sophomore Christopher Plimpton clinched the win for Yale, pulling away from his opponent decisively with well-placed shots in a 3-0 match.
Sophomore John Fulham didn't know the outcome had already been decided as he played. In the most exciting match of the day, Fulham went down in games 2-1 after losing game three 9-1. He jumped out to an early lead in game four, however, and his superior fitness showed in the five-game win.
"Those kind of things feed off themselves," said Talbott of the tough victories that reflected the effort in practice. "It shows if you put in work, the results will come."
The other senior in the lineup for Yale, Francis Johnson, made quick work of his opponent at No. 7, not giving up a single point. Sophomore Naishadh Lalwani overcame a 1-1 tie to take out his opponent 3-1.
With Yale up 8-0, junior Aaron Fuchs fought hard against Penn's Mark Froot but lost, ending Yale's chance at a sweep. By the end of the day, though, Fuchs and the whole team had plenty of reason to smile; their victory is a great first step toward the ultimate goal.
"We have struggled with [Penn] in recent years, but this year we were able to dominate the match," said Talbott. "It builds good momentum for us. We saw tremendous improvement and if we keep working, we can be at the top of the Ivy League."
Yale's next match will be the U.S. Team Championships at the Brady Squash Center Dec. 12-14. The Elis will resume Ivy play next month when they travel to Dartmouth.
No. 1 Mark Froot (P) def. Aaron Fuchs (Y), 3-0 (9-2, 9-5, 10-8)
No. 2 John Fulham (Y) def. Thomas Mattsson (P), 3-2 (9-5, 7-9, 1-9, 9-4, 9-5)
No. 3 Todd Ruth (Y) def. Trevor McGuinness (P), 3-0 (9-5, 9-4, 9-2)
No. 4 Naishadh Lalwani (Y) def. Porter Drake (P), 3-1 (9-0, 2-9, 9-5, 9-2)
No. 5 John Roberts (Y) def. Andrew Zimmerman (P), 3-0 (9-0, 9-1, 9-1)
No. 6 Colin Campbell (Y) def. Joey Raho (P), 3-0 (9-2, 9-2, 9-2)
No. 7 Francis Johnson (Y) def. Bobby Dickey (P), 3-0 (9-0, 9-0, 9-0)
No. 8 Christopher Plimpton (Y) def. William Browne (P), 3-0 (9-1, 9-4, 9-1)
No. 9 Michael Maruca (Y) def. Nick Malinowski (P), 3-0 (9-5, 9-6, 9-3)
report by Neil Horowitz '09, Yale Sports Publicity