CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In a marathon battle with archrival and No. 2 Yale, the Harvard men's squash team finished strong to earn a share of the Ivy League title for the first time since 2006 Monday night at the Murr Center Squash Courts.
In a match that lasted over four hours, the Crimson (15-2, 6-1) won two of the first three and the final two, including senior co-captain Zeke Scherl's dramatic clincher, to hold off the Bulldogs, 6-3, on senior night and earn a share of the Ancient Eight crown with Princeton.
Scherl dropped the first game in his match with Eric Caine before rebounding to take the second by an identical 11-7 score. The third proved to be the pivot point that swung momentum heavily into Harvard's co-captain's favor, outlasting the Yale junior, 11-9. In the fourth, Scherl raced out to an early 5-0 advantage before Caine narrowed the advantage; however, the early deficit was too much as he pulled away to win, 11-5, to send his teammates into a frenzied celebration.
While Scherl closed out the Bulldogs, his teammates won a number of close matches to set the stage for the New Jersey native.
Freshman Matt Roberts got the Crimson on the scoreboard, edging Joseph Roberts at No. 9, 12-10, 16-14, 6-11, 11-9, to give Harvard an early lead. No. 3 Nigel Koh followed suit on the glass court. He traded the first four games with Richard Dodd before going on a tear in the fifth, blanking the senior, 11-0. The Bulldogs picked up a five-game win at No. 6 to stay within striking distance of the Crimson.
In the second rotation, No. 2 Brandon McLaughlin dropped the opening game. 5-11, to Hywel Robinson before winning the final three, 11-4, 11-4, 11-6. Ali Farag swept Kenneth Chan at No. 1, 11-3, 11-3, 11-4, in the only match to finish in three; however, the Elis won another pair of matches that went the distance to draw within 4-3 to leave the contest up for grabs.
After Scherl earned his win to seal the victory, Gary Power rallied past Neil Martin at No. 4, 12-10, 3-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-6, to make the final margin three.
Harvard returns to action Friday in the opening round of the College Squash Association Team Championships against a to-be-determined opponent.
No. 1 Ali Farag (H) def. Kenneth Chan (Y) 3-0: 11-3, 11-3, 11-4
No. 2 Brandon McLaughlin (H) def. Hywel Robinson (Y) 3-1: 5-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-6
No. 3 Nigel Koh (H) def. Richard Dodd (Y) 3-2: 11-8, 6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-0
No. 4 Gary Power (H) def. Neil Martin (Y) 3-2: 12-10, 3-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-6
No. 5 Sam Fenwick (Y) def. Tyler Olson (H) 3-2: 11-2, 7-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-5
No. 6 Zachary Leman (Y) def. Tommy Mullaney (H) 3-2: 11-6, 4-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-8
No. 7 Zeke Scherl (H) def. Eric Caine (Y) 3-1: 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5
No. 8 Charlie Wyatt (Y) def. Jason Michas (H) 3-2: 6-11, 11-3, 8-11, 11-4, 11-4
No. 9 Matt Roberts (H) def. Joseph Roberts (Y) 3-1: 12-10, 16-14, 6-11, 11-9
No. 10 Alexander Ma (H) def. Pehlaaj Bajwa (Y) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-9