New Haven, CT – A sign of things to come? The Harvard women and Yale men should hope so. The two teams won this weekend’s Ivy Scrimmages, held at Yale’s Brady Squash Center. As scrimmages, the results don’t count toward national or Ivy League rankings. The competition did, however, give a sense of where teams stand coming into the start of the season.
And it’s a very good place for the Harvard women. Even with several players sitting out, the Crimson rolled over Yale in the finals, winning 8-1. Contributing to the team’s success were members of the Crimson’s deep first-year class, including Laura Gemmell, the highest ranked first-year player in the CSA’s women’s preseason individual rankings. With all the players from last season’s Howe Cup squad returning, the Crimson are ready to contend for the national title they narrowly missed last season.
Harvard didn’t get a rematch with the team that denied them that title, defending national and Ivy League champions Princeton. The Tigers, who were #1 in the preseason rankings, lost to fifth-ranked Yale in the second round by a decisive 2-7. Princeton was playing without 2008-2009 All-American Neha Kumar, who played number two at the end of last season.
Like the Harvard women, the Yale men benefited from the contributions of first-year players, with Richard Dodd playing at number 5 and Kenneth Chan proving to be a solid number 1. The Bulldogs blanked Brown and Dartmouth on their way to the finals, where they defeated defending Ivy League champion and national runner-up Princeton 6-3. Although most of the squads had some players sit out this weekend, the Bulldogs should be encouraged by their strong start, especially after coming off a disappointing 2008-2009 season.
Another team that should be encouraged by this weekend’s performance is Dartmouth. In Hansi Wiens’ head coaching debut, the Dartmouth men battled Harvard to a 5-4 win in the first round. Both teams will have something to prove when the Crimson travel to Hanover in early December.
This year’s Ivy Scrimmages also marked the first appearance by the Columbia men, who were led by new head coach Jacques Swanepoel. They joined the Columbia women, who were making their third trip to the Ivy Scrimmages. As emerging varsity teams, the Lions aren’t yet competing on the same level as the other Ivy squads. Both Columbia teams should only continue to improve over the coming years.
A lot can – and will – change between now and February, when these teams will return to New Haven for the National Team Championships. But if the Harvard women and Yale men have their way, they’ll finish the season the same way they began it: victorious.
To see photos from the event, click here.