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Top-Ranked Men's Squash Looks to Claim its 31st National Championship

Koh will look to help Harvard claim its 31st Potter Cup (photo courtesy: Zack Williamson).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The top-ranked men's squash team will play host to the 2013-14 Potter Cup Championships Feb. 14-16 as the Crimson look to capture its 31st national championship in program history. Harvard will open the three-day event with No. 8 Penn Friday, Feb. 14 at 11:30.

Seeding The Field
The seeding for the championship are determined by the most recent edition of the CSA rankings, which has the Crimson sitting at the top of the list followed by No. 2 Trinity, No. 3 Yale, No. 4 St. Lawrence, No. 5 Franklin & Marshall, No. 6 University of Rochester, No. 7 Cornell and No. 8 Penn to round out the teams competing for the Potter Cup.

Watch It Live
The Ivy League Digital Network will stream the glass court of the title match of the Potter Cup on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 1 p.m.  Subscribers to the network can watch matches both live and on-demand at their convenience, and will have access to live and on-demand content for all home Harvard athletics events throughout the duration of their subscription.

 

CSA Team Rankings
After defeating then No. 1 Trinity College, 7-2, and toppling Brown to claim the Ancient Eight crown, Harvard has moved up to the top spot, marking the first time since 1996, the Crimson has been the top-ranked program in the nation. 

Related Link: Dunlop Men's College Squash Team Rankings

We are the Champions
Harvard clinched the program's 36th Ivy League title Sunday, Feb. 9 defeating Brown, 9-0 at the Murr Center on senior day.  In the final regular season match, seniors Ali Farag, Brandon McLaughlin, Gary Power, Nigle Koh and Tom Mullaney each clinch wins to give Harvard the title for the second consecutive year.

Related Link:
No. 2 Men's Squash Captures Ivy Crown with 9-0 Win Over Brown

 

About No. 1 Harvard
After besting Brown, Harvard finished the regular season with a perfect 15-0 overall marks as well as a 7-0 record in conference play. Tom Mullaney (13-0) paces the team in wins, while No. 1 Ali Farag (12-0) and Tyler Olson (12-0) on right on his heels.  Overall, 10 players have reached the double-digit victory plateau, and the team has a combined record of 128-9 for a .934 win percentage.

Harvard has faced six of the other seven teams in the tournament field, posting a solid, 6-0, against teams ranked in the top eight in the country.  Harvard downed Trinity, 7-2, Yale, 6-3, St. Lawrence, 8-1, Rochester, 8-1, Cornell, 8-1, and Penn, 9-0.

The Crimson has not seen No. 5 Franklin & Marshall on the court since Dec. 7, 1996 when Harvard shutout the Diplomats, 9-0.

National Champions
The Crimson has won the Potter Cup 30 times, the most national championships of any team at Harvard. It's most recent title came in 1998 to cap a string of seven consecutive national championships.

Previous Squash National Champions
Harvard – 30 (1998)
Trinity – 14 (2013)
Yale – 12 (1990)
Princeton – 11 (2012)
Navy – 3 (1967)

Ali The Great
Ali Farag has been named a finalist for the 2014 Skillman Award. The honor is given annually to a senior men's squash player who has demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship during his entire college career. Farag was the 2012 co-Ivy League rookie of the year, the 2013 Co-Ivy League Player of the Year and is a two-time All-Ivy honoree.  He also garnered first team All-America honors as a sophomore and junior. In his final season, the Cairo, Egypt native, has posted a 12-0 record in the No. 1 position and boasts a .956 win percentage throughout his collegiate career (44-2).

Related Link
: Farag Tabbed a Finalist for the 2014 Skillman Award

2013 Potter Cup Finals
The Crimson fell just short of its 31st national championship, one season ago as Harvard dropped a 6-3 decision to Trinity. The Crimson opened up with a 2-1 lead after the first flight, but the Bantams won four of the next five matches to secure the win. Trinity clinched its 14th national title.

Zeroing In
The Crimson swept its first seven opponents of the season for the first time in program history to post a 7-0 record. The previous program record for consecutive shutouts to begin a season was six, which it did in 2004-05, 1991-92 and 1972-73. The Crimson are three shutout shy of matching the current's program record for sweeps in a season, which is 12, set by the 1991-92 team and equaled by the 1994-95.

Coach's View
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

Scouting No. 8 Penn
As the eight-ranked team in the country, Penn concluded its regular season with an 8-4 record and a 4-3 Ivy Mark.  The Quakers went 3-2 in its last five Ancient Eight eights, edging Princeton (7-2) and Columbia (5-4) while falling to Yale (9-0) and Cornell (8-1). Penn's John Dudzik, George Lemmon, Jack Maine and Michael Mutscheller are tied for the team-lead with eight wins, while Rahil Fazelbhoy and Augie Frank aren't far behind with seven wins each. The squad has combined for a 60-59 overall record for a .504 win percentage.

All-Time Against the Quakers
As its third-most frequent opponent, the Crimson has seen plenty of the Quakers through the years. The two teams first faced off March 9, 1929 when Harvard shut Penn out, 6-0. In fact, the Crimson captured the first 25 meetings between the two teams, to help claim a 71-2 edge in the all-time series. In the first meeting of the 2013-14 season, Harvard toppled Penn, 9-0.

Up Next
With team played finished, the Crimson will play individually at the CSA Individual Championships Feb. 28-March 2 in Philadelphia, Pa.