By Anne Bello
Published Oct 13, 2010 at 7:00 AM ET; Updated Oct 12, 2010 at 8:49 PM ET

New Haven, CT — The 2009-2010 season will be a hard one for Yale to top, but if they can do it, they might just make history.

The Bulldogs, who won the 2010 Barnaby Award as the most improved team, won the Ivy League title and made it into the finals of the Men’s National Team Championships with a thrilling 5-4 win over Rochester in the semifinals. The Bulldogs couldn’t stop Trinity from winning a twelfth consecutive title, but they did give the Bantams a run for their money. Yale won three matches and lost a fourth in five games, and with the increasing parity in the men’s A Division, they should be right back in the mix this season.

“Key matches will be numerous as the quality of play across the board continues to rise,” Yale head coach Dave Talbott says.  “This seems to be the most competitive year in a long time.”

The Bulldogs graduated their number 2 and 3 players, Todd Ruth and Aaron Fuchs, and will add two first-year players: Neil Martin of Ireland and Charlie Wyatt of England. They will also have Ryan Dowd and John Fulham returning to full strength after injuries;  Fulham played number 1 for the Bulldogs in 2008-2009 but only competed in a few matches last season. Seniors Fulham, captain Naishadh Lalwani, CJ Plimpton, and Mike Maruca will bring a lot of experience and leadership to the team, and juniors  Robbie Berner, John Roberts, Sam Clayman, and Dowd will all be stepping up as well. Sophomores Kenneth Chan, Hywel Robinson, Richard Dodd, and Sam Haig will also be able to continue their growth from last year’s successful season. “Yale will have very little drop off through their whole line-up which has been a strength of the program over the years,” says Talbott.

Assistant coaches Gareth Webber and Pam Saunders will be back as well. Talbott credits Webber and Saunders as playing a key part in the team’s improvement and Ivy League championship last season.

The Bulldogs will also continue their involvement with Squash Haven, Yale’s community outreach program. “Helping coach the kids every day at 3:00, five days a week, the men partner with the women for this great program,” Talbott explains.  “With 3 full time people running the program with the Yale teams, Squash Haven has become a real trademark of the Yale squash program.”

The players have stayed busy over the summer. Some participated in overseas study programs in such places as France, Spain, Singapore, and Prague, while a group of five players spent the summer in New Haven preparing for the upcoming year academically as well as training together.

“All of them understand it is going to take a lot more than just in-season training to obtain their goals,” Talbott says. “All of us at Yale Squash hope to use last season as a springboard to an even better year in 2011.”

2009-2010 SEASON RECAP

Season Record: 14-2
Final Ranking: 2
Team Championships/Conference: 2nd Overall; 2nd in Potter Cup (A Division); Barnaby Award; Ivy League Championship

2010-2011 SEASON PREVIEW

Program Status:
Varsity

Head Coach:
David Talbott

Returning Players from Team Championships: Robbie Berner (8); Kenneth Chan (1; All-Ivy); Richard Dodd (7); Naishadh Lalwani (6); CJ Plimpton (9; Molloy Cup winner); John Roberts (5);  Hywel Robinson (4)

Graduates on Last Season’s Team Championships Roster: Aaron Fuchs (3; 2nd Team All-American; All-Ivy); Todd Ruth (2; 2nd Team All-American; 2009-2010 Captain)

Additions to the 2010-2011 Roster:
Neil Martin and Charlie Wyatt; John Fulham and Ryan Dowd

Captain:
Naishadh Lalwani

Team Goals: Win the Ivy League and national championships

To read other team previews, please visit the 2010 – 2011 College Squash Preview Page.