Third-seeded Men's Squash Looks to Claim 31st Potter Cup This Weekend
Nigel Koh is coming off the biggest win of his career Monday night (Gil Talbot).
The No. 3 Harvard men's squash team travels to New Haven, Conn., for the College Squash Association Team Championships. The Crimson will open the three-day event with No. 6 Rochester for the second consecutive year after besting the Yellow Jackets, 6-3, in the quarterfinals in 2012.
The seedings for the championship are determined by the most recent edition of the CSA rankings, which has the Crimson at No. 3 behind No. 1 Trinity and No. 2 Princeton. No. 4 Yale, No. 5 Cornell, No. 6 Rochester, No. 7 Franklin and Marshall College and No. 8 St. Lawrence round out the teams competing in the Potter Cup.
Harvard will begin the tournament against No. 6 Rochester, which it beat 5-4 Dec. 1 after Ali Farag earned the clinching win for the Crimson. Harvard will face either Princeton or Franklin and Marshall in the second round.
We are the Champions
Harvard clinched a share of the Ivy League title Monday night, defeating archrival Yale, 6-3, at the Murr Center Squash Courts on senior day. In his final home match, co-captain Zeke Scherl earned the clinching win at No. 7 to give Harvard a piece of the Ancient Eight crown for the first time since 2006. Brandon McLaughlin earned his team-leading 12th win of the year at No. 2, while Matt Roberts and Gary Power both earned their 10th win of the season.
About No. 3 Harvard
After Monday night's win over Yale, the Crimson finished the regular season 15-2 overall and 6-1 in the Ivy League with its only two losses to No. 1 Trinity and No. 2 Princeton by identical 5-4 margins. Brandon McLaughlin (12-1) paces the team in wins, while No. 1 Ali Farag (11-0) is right on his heels. Overall, seven players have reached the double-digit victory plateau, and the team has a combined record of 133-24 for an .847 win percentage.
Harvard has faced five of the other seven teams in the tournament field, going 3-2 against teams ranked in the top eight in the country. Harvard topped Yale, 6-3, Cornell, 6-3, and Rochester 5-4, while suffering setbacks to the aforementioned Bantams and Tigers.
About No. 6 Rochester (Team Page)
The Yellow Jackets brings a 9-5 mark into the CSA Team Championships, dropping all five matches to team's ranked ahead of them in the polls. In addition to falling to Harvard 5-4, Rochester suffered setbacks to Princeton (7-2), Trinity (5-4), Yale (6-3) and Cornell (6-3). Faraz Khan leads the team with a 12-2 record, including an 8-2 standing at No. 3 on the ladder. Adam Perkiomaki is second on the team with 11 wins, while Neil Cordell, Andres Duany and Oscar Lopez all have 10 wins to give the team a collective .641 win percentage.
Series History Against the Yellow Jackets
Harvard leads the all-time series, 5-2, after its win earlier this season. The Crimson is currently riding a three-game win streak in the series, taking a pair of meetings last season, as well.
The Crimson has won the Potter Cup 30 times, the most national championships of any team at Harvard and the most squash titles all time. It's most recent title came in 1998 to cap a string of eight consecutive national championships.
Previous Squash National Champions
Harvard – 30 (Last: 1998)
Trinity – 13 (2011)
Yale – 12 (1990)
Princeton – 11 (2012)
Navy – 3 (1967)
Harvard swept its first three opponents of the season for the 21st time in program history before finally losing a match to No. 6 Rochester. The three consecutive sweeps to begin a year is the longest streak since Harvard swept the first four matches of 2006-07. Harvard's program record for consecutive shutouts to begin a season is six, which it did it 2004-05, 1991-92 and 1972-73. The program record for shutouts in a season is 12, set by the 1991-92 team and equaled by the 1994-95 squad. Thus far, Harvard has swept 10 of its 17 opponents.
Assistant coach Luke Hammond is now blogging to give fans an inside perspective of the Harvard men's and women's squash teams. The blog will be periodically updated throughout the season, recapping the latest results and highlighting other interesting tidbits about the squad.
Related Link: Harvard Squash Blog
Junior Ali Farag is a perfect 27-0 in his Harvard squash career. The Egypt native went 16-0 last season, including an 11-0 mark at the No. 1 position, en route to the individual CSA title and is off to a 11-0 start this year.
Leading the Way
Mike Way, The Gregory Lee '87 and Russell Ball '88 Endowed Coach for Squash at Harvard University, returns for his third season at the helm of the Crimson. In just over two seasons, his teams have posted a combined 40-12 mark, including a 16-4 record last year. Both of his assistants, Reg Schonborn and Luke Hammond, are back for 2012-13, as well.
With team played finished, the Crimson will play individually at the CSA Individual Championships March. 1-3 in Hartford, Conn.