NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Bulldogs beat Drexel handily in their opening match on Friday, winning by a score of 8-1 and notching a game-one victory for the seventh consecutive season. The Elis were aided by stand-out performances from three of their five new first-years, No. 2 Nadav Raziel, No. 6 Eric Kim and No. 7 Tiber Worth, all who picked up the first victories of their college careers.
Raziel had a particularly strong showing, besting his opponent Matias Knudsen three games to two in a nail-biter of a match. After dropping the first game 5-11, Raziel regrouped to top Knudsen 11-7 in game two. Raziel and Knudsen split the third and fourth match, leading to a tie-breaker, which Nadav eked out by a score of 11-7.
Sophomore Harrison Gill, no. 3 on the team, also won his match three games to two. After winning his first two games decisively, by scores of 11-7 and 11-5, Gill dropped two games in a row to opponent Dylan Kachur. The match went down to the wire, but Gill pulled away, cruising to an 11-4 victory in the final game.
"[Dylan] played really well to come back and push the match to a fifth game," said Gill. "But I had some really good coaching from Tim Lasusa our Assistant Coach, who told me to really focus on my composure in the match and play an accurate game. It really simplified my game plan and I was able to execute and play my shots the way I wanted."
Gill said that he is hoping to ride this momentum into next Wednesday's match against No. 15 Brown. Their match against Brown will be the Bulldogs' first against an Ivy-League opponent this season.
"The first priority is just getting the win," said Gill about his mindset going into the Brown match. "[Brown] is always a strong team, but it is really encouraging the way people are playing now, so we just want to keep that momentum up."
The night came to a close with a showdown of the No. 1 seeds: Drexel's Bransten Ming vs. Yale's Spencer Lovejoy. Lovejoy blanked Ming, winning the match three games to none.
"We should go into every match thinking 'we should 9-0 this team,'" said Lovejoy during a team conference following the match. Brooks G. Ragen Director of Squash Dave Talbott harped on Lovejoy's comment, encouraging the team to begin preparing, mentally and physically, for the Brown match on Wednesday.
"I was really motivated by watching the team tonight. That's a really solid match," said Talbott. "It's a nice start, but it is just a start. We have to get even fitter and stronger. We have to go hard all week and take care of business on Wednesday."
Senior Assistant Coach Lynn Leong added that the Bulldogs showed great patience and confidence in their match against Drexel and needed to bring that full-force into their game against Brown. Assistant Coach Tim Lasusa also lauded the mindset and physicality of the team, saying that the Bulldogs have strength, fitness and endurance to their advantage, and they have to harness that going into their next match.
The Bulldogs will take on Brown next Wednesday at 6:30 pm at the Brady Squash Center.
Full Stats, Yale vs. Drexel:
No. 1 Seed: Spencer Lovejoy, Y def. Bransten Ming, D (12-10, 11-5, 11-7)
No. 2 Seed: Nadav Raziel, Y def. Matias Knudsen, D (5-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7)
No. 3 Seed: Harrison Gill, Y def. Dylan Kachur, D (11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 9-11, 11-4)
No. 4 Seed: Calvin McCafferty, Y def. Filip Krueger, D (10-12, 12-10, 11-7, 11-7)
No. 5 Seed: Luke Willemse, D def. Tyler Carney, Y (11-7, 11-9, 11-5)
No. 6 Seed: Eric Kim, Y def. Noel Heaton, D (12-10, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7)
No. 7 Seed: Tiber Worth, Y def. Royston Raymond, D (11-3, 11-1, 11-6)
No. 8 Seed: Yohan Pandole, Y def. Will Grady, D (6-11, 11-4, 11-6, 6-11, 11-4)
No. 9 Seed: Jay Losty, Y def. Shaan Dalal, D (11-8, 11-4, 11-9)
Report by Johnny Gross '21, Yale Sports Publicity