THRILLERS OVER HARVARD: MEN l WOMEN
For the first time this century, Princeton has both the top-ranked men’s and women’s squash teams in the nation, and both will continue their quests for Ivy League championships next Wednesday.
Both the Princeton men (6-0, 2-0 Ivy) and women (5-0, 2-0) are coming off dramatic 5-4 home victories over Harvard on Jan. 13. The victory kept the men atop the poll, where they have been since the preseason, while the women jumped from third to first with the win.
The Princeton women hadn’t been ranked first since Nov. 20, 2009, when the Tigers were coming off three straight national championships. The men hadn’t been number one at any point during the Trinity-dominated 2000’s until last season, when Princeton finally knocked off the Bantams 5-4 in the 2012 national final.
While both teams are undefeated, there are long and challenging roads ahead on both paths towards potential Ivy and national championships. For the women, the first match after the finals break will play a big part in determining the winner. The Tigers will welcome fourth-ranked Penn Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 5 pm.
This has grown into one of the top rivalries in the nation, though the Quakers have had the best of it in the regular season recently. Penn has won four of the last five meetings during the season, including a 6-3 win in Philadelphia last season; Princeton, however, has won four of the last five matches played in Jadwin Gym, including a 7-2 quarterfinal win during the 2011 Howe Cup.
Penn will come into the match with a 1-1 record in league play, which includes a 6-3 home loss to Harvard. The Penn-Harvard competition included three matches that went five games, as well as three others that went four.
Princeton will head to New Haven that weekend for a pair of matches. On Friday, the Tigers will host nationally ranked Stanford in a rematch of the 2012 Howe Cup quarterfinal, won by Princeton 8-1. The next day, Princeton will take on Yale at noon in the Brady Squash Center. The Bulldogs are currently 9-1 and have Ivy League victories over both Columbia (9-0) and Cornell (6-3). The Bulldogs were pushed hard in a road win at Cornell; three of their six wins came by 3-2 scores.
Yale is led by 2011 national individual champion Millie Tomlinson, and it has won four straight over Princeton. That run followed a stretch of six straight wins for the Tigers, including five during Princeton’s three-year run as national champions (2007-09).
Following the Jan. 30 match with Penn, Princeton will play only once more at the Jadwin Squash Courts. The team will celebrate Senior Day Feb. 10 at noon as part of a double-header against Columbia.
The men will return to the court Jan. 30 when they take on Penn at the Jadwin Squash Courts. That will be the Tigers’ final tune-up before hitting the road to New Haven, Conn., to take on the Yale Bulldogs.
Both Princeton and Yale are undefeated in Ivy play right now, and those two schools have combined to win each of the last six Ivy League titles (they also shared the 2006 title in a three-way split with Harvard).
Thus, the winner of the Princeton-Yale regular season match has won the Ivy League title seven straight years, and the home team has won this match three of the last four years. Last season, Princeton ended a two-year skid with an 8-1 home victory over the Bulldogs.
Cornell showed that it would be a forced to be reckoned with last season, when it upset Yale and pushed Princeton during a tough CSA semifinal match. The Big Red is 7-1 on the season, though it fell 8-1 to Yale. The Big Red will host Princeton on Feb. 8 in what could be the biggest final obstacle for the Tigers in the Ivy race.
The rematch from the 2012 national final will take place Feb. 16 at the Jadwin Squash Courts when the Trinity Bantams come to town. Trinity is currently undefeated, including an impressive home win over Yale on Wednesday, and is currently ranked second nationally.
The national championships will take place Feb. 22-24 at Yale, while the individuals will be the following weekend at Trinity.