Feb. 23, 2007
New Haven, CT - Back on December 2, 2006 in the first match of the season, the Bulldogs seemed outmatched by Penn. On Friday, Penn did not look like they belonged on the same courts as Yale. The No. 5 Bulldogs avenged their 6-3 loss to No. 4 Penn back in December by cruising to a 7-2 victory in the quarterfinals of the CSA Team Championships Friday in front of an animated crowd at the Brady Squash Center.
No. 3 Francis Johnson, No. 6 Aaron Fuchs, and No. 9 Ethan Oetter got Yale off on the right foot as they all cruised to 3-0 victories in the first three matches of the day. Johnson, playing at No. 3 for the third consecutive match, rolled to a 9-4, 9-3, 9-2 victory against Penn's Ben Ende.
Throughout his match, Johnson pumped his fists and urged himself on as the crowd, filled with his fellow lacrosse players, cheered him on. Johnson, who just came off a 3-0 loss to Harvard on Wednesday, said the crowd support helped fuel him in his victory.
"I was fired up," he said. "Playing at home courts really helped. Having a bunch of fans was great. We came out flat in the beginning of the season. The important thing was really getting on a roll early. We've been eyeing the rematch all year."
No. 5 Moshe Sarfaty and No. 8 Colin Campbell secured the victory for Yale as their matches ended a few minutes apart to give Yale a 5-1 lead. Todd Ruth and Ho Ming Chiu sweetened the victory with wins at No. 7 and 4 to end the day.
Sarfaty won 9-1, 3-9, 9-2, 9-1 in a very physical match against Penn's Spencer Kern. After the match, he said he intended to intimidate his opponent.
"In college squash, psychology is a big part of the game," Sarfaty said. "I wanted to make sure he was afraid of me. Psychology is one of my strongest parts. In the third and fourth games, I kept putting pressure on him. I just wanted to finish it."
Head Coach Dave Talbott said that Yale played great in avenging their prior loss to Penn.
"We came out really focused," Talbott said. "A big thing was winning the first three matches. Francis Johnson played the best match he's ever played. Getting up 3-0 was big. We're a much-improved team. It was the best match we've played. The guys were incredibly fired up. We just had a lot of emotion. We really played with a game plan. The guys stayed disciplined. When you turn around a 6-3 loss into a 7-2 win, that's big. The guys needed that."
The Bulldogs may need more than that as they face No. 1 Trinity, a team that has won 163 straight matches, Saturday in the semifinals. Talbott said Yale must keep the match in perspective considering Trinity defeated Yale 9-0 January 23.
"We're obviously overmatched," Talbott said. "There's no pressure. It's on our home court. Our goal is to win some matches."
Associate Head Coach Gareth Webber said that today's match gives the Bulldogs reason to be optimistic.
"The way we played today there's no reason we can't upset them," Webber said. "We just have to believe in ourselves."
Yale will look to avenge that loss Saturday in its attempt to advance to the finals. Johnson said the Bulldogs will play their hearts out in the Trinity match.
"We have nothing to lose against them," Johnson said. "They are a very strong team. We've worked really hard, though. We want to try and grab five matches. It's not likely, but it's possible."
1. Gilly Lane (P) def. Nick Chirls (Y), 3-0 (9-1, 9-4, 9-1)
2. Lee Rosen (P) def. Max Samuel (Y), 3-0 (10-8, 9-0, 9-1)
3. Francis Johnson (Y) def. Ben Ende (P), 3-0 (9-4, 9-3, 9-2)
4. Ho Ming Chiu (Y) def. Mark Froot (P), 3-1 (9-4, 5-9, 10-8, Ret.)
5. Moshe Sarfaty (Y) def. Spencer Kern (P), 3-1 (9-1, 3-9, 9-2, 9-1)
6. Aaron Fuchs (Y) def. Graham Bassett (P), 3-0 (9-1, 9-1, 9-0)
7. Todd Ruth (Y) def. Andrew Zimmerman (P), 3-0 (9-2, 9-2, 9-2)
8. Colin Campbell (Y) def. Chris Thompson (P), 3-1 (9-3, 9-7, 6-9, 9-6)
9. Ethan Oetter (Y) def. Ryan Rayfield (P), 3-0 (9-2, 10-9, 9-0)
Report filed by Steven Horn '10, Yale Sports Publicity