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February 6, 2014

Men's Squash Title Race Comes Down to Final Weekend

Photo courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The stage couldn't be set any better for the final weekend of Ivy League men's squash.

Harvard has won 12 in a row and Yale has won six in a row. Both are unbeaten in Ivy action thus far this season. When the teams play on Friday in New Haven, something wll have to give. 

The Crimson, ranked No. 2 nationally, is in search of their second-straight title, sharing it with Princeton last year. Harvard hasn't won a title outright since 2005, but has won 38 of the 57 Ivy titles to date. 

Yale, on the other hand, will be looking for its third title in the last five years and ninth crown all-time. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 3 nationally. 

In addition, with Harvard beating top-ranked Trinity early this week, the winner of Harvard-Yale will likely grab the No. 1 team ranking. 

Here is a quick look at each of the Ivies heading into the final weekend of League play:  

BROWN
The Bears have lost four straight and are winless in the Ivy, but could have the role of spoiler on Sunday when it travels to Harvard. At 4-12, Brown is currently ranked No. 19 in the nation. Blake Reinson (7-7) and Foster Hoff (7-5) are tied for the team lead with seven wins each. 

Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 7 Dartmouth, Feb. 9 at Harvard, Feb. 11 Williams.  

COLUMBIA
The Lions are 6-4 on the season, 2-3 in Ivy play. Last weekend, Columbia split at home, defeating Dartmouth, 8-1, and losing to Harvard by the same score. Columbia is ranked No. 12 in the nation, currently. The Lions play two big matches to close out the regular season, facing No. 7 Princeton and No. 10 Penn. Ramit Tandon had been unbeaten thus far this season at No. 1. However, his nine-match winning streak was snapped on Sunday by Harvard's Ali Farag in four games.  

Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 7 Princeton, Feb. 9 at Penn. 

CORNELL
Ranked No. 8 currently, the Big Red is tied for third in the Ivy at 3-2. Cornell is 6-5 overall after defeating Dartmouth, 7-2, last Sunday. Cornell's match at Rochester on Wednesday was postponed due to weather. Aditiya Jagtap has a team-best 9-2 mark this season. He provided the only win of the day for Cornell in Saturday's loss to Harvard, defeating Brandon McLaughlin in four games at No. 2. 

Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 7 Penn, Feb. 7 Hobart, Feb. 9 at Princeton.  

DARTMOUTH
Dartmouth is winless in League play and 2-8 on the year. Having lost three straight, Dartmouth's match with Williams was postponed due to snow on Wednesday. The Big Green, ranked No. 11 nationally, lost to Columbia and Cornell last weekend. Glen Brickman has been a bright spot for Dartmouth, compiling a 7-2 mark thus far this season and winning his last four outings. Dartmouth could also be a spoiler this coming weekend when it closes out the regular season at home against Yale. 

Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 7 at Brown, Feb. 9 Yale. 

HARVARD
Harvard is No. 2 in the nation and a perfect 12-0 thus far this season. The Crimson have won 102 of 108 games thus far this season, including 43 of 45 in Ivy play to go 5-0. In a big showdown on Tuesday, the Crimson knocked off No. 1-ranked Trinity on the road, 7-2. Ali Farag won again, making quick work of Trinity's Miled Zarazua, 11-8, 11-3, 11-5. Farag is 10-0 this year and now 42-2 for this three seasons at Harvard. The Crimson travel to Yale on Friday with the Ivy title on the line and the winner probably earning the No. 1 ranking. 

Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 7 at Yale, Feb. 9 Boston University, Feb. 9 Brown. 

PENN
The Quakers are 7-3 overall and 3-2 in Ivy play, tied with Cornell for third place currently. Penn made history two weeks ago when it defeated Princeton in Philadelphia, 7-2. It was the Quakers' first win over their arch-rivals in 40 years. Penn's last win over Princeton came in 1974 with the Quakers having lost 45 consecutive meetings with Princeton. Penn's ranking of No. 10 nationally came before that win over the No. 7 Tigers. Last weekend, the Quakers split at home, falling to Yale 9-0 before bouncing back to beat Brown, 8-1. John Dudzik, Michael Mutscheller and Jack Maine are each 7-3 to lead the Quakers this season. If the Quakers can win twice on this final weekend, they might find themselves in the Potter Cup draw later this month. 

Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 7 at Cornell, Feb. 9 Columbia.   

PRINCETON
The Tigers currently sit at 4-6 overall, 2-3 in Ivy play. In hopes of avoiding their first losing season since 1967-68, the Tigers face Columbia and Cornell on the final regular season weekend and then will hope for a strong showing at the CSA Team Championships the following weekend. Despite that, the Tigers are still dangerous, nearly knocking off Yale last weekend (5-4) and Trinity a few days before (6-3). Tyler Osborne leads the team with a 7-2 mark on the season. Dylan Ward also has seven wins on the year, compiling a 7-3 mark thus far. 

Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 7 at Columbia, Feb. 9 Cornell. 

YALE
The Bulldogs have won six straight heading into Friday's showdown with Harvard. At 13-1 overall (5-0 Ivy), Yale's only setback came against top-ranked Trinity, a 5-4 loss on Jan. 22. Still, the Bulldogs could be the No. 1 team in the nation and win the Ivy title for the third time in the last five years if they can get past Harvard on Friday and Dartmouth on Sunday. Liam McClintock is 13-0 on the year for the Bulldogs, while Thomas Dembinski is 12-0 thus far for Yale. 

Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 7 Harvard, Feb. 9 at Dartmouth.