Rochester, Tufts and California on Saturday Slate for No. 3 Men's Squash

Rochester, Tufts and California on Saturday Slate for No. 3 Men's Squash

Julian Kirby will play at No. 1 for Harvard against Tufts and California (Gil Talbot). 

Scene Setter
The No. 3 Harvard men's squash team splits up this weekend with part of the team staying home for matches against Tufts and California at home Saturday, while the other half heads to Rochester to take on the Yellow Jackets.

Last Time Out
Harvard began Ivy League play with a dominating 9-0 win over Dartmouth Wednesday night at the Murr Center. The Crimson won 30 of the 31 games played, sweeping eight of the nine matches that counted and winning the 10th 3-0. 

Related Article: No. 3 Men's Squash Takes Home Opener 9-0 Over No. 8 Dartmouth

Successful Starts
Harvard is 56-1 in its last 57 opening matches dating back to 1956. The Crimson has started 2-0 in 35 straight seasons following a 5-4 loss to Western Ontario to start the 1977-78 season. Harvard has also improved to 3-0 in all 34 years since that season-opening loss.

Harvard has swept both of its opponents, Boston College and Dartmouth, 9-0, this season. It is the 30th time in program history that the Crimson have won both of its opening matches by shutting out the opponent. The last occurred in 2005-06 when the Crimson swept its first three matches of the year before finally losing one against Williams in an 8-1 win. The Crimson has gone 3-0 while blanking the opponent in all three matches 20 times in program annals.

Undefeated Ali
Following his win on Wednesday night at the No. 1 position, junior Ali Farag is a perfect 17-0 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.

Meet the Captains
Jason Michas and Zeke Scherl were voted co-captains for the 2012-13 season. Michas, who also served as a captain last year, went 11-2 last season playing in a variety of spots for the Crimson, while Scherl was 12-6 overall after playing in five different spots.

Welcome Back
Harvard returns nearly everybody from last year's squad with Will Ahmed '12 serving as the lone exception. Defending national champion Ali Farag returns for his junior season after posting an 11-0 mark at the No. 1 position and 16-0 record overall in his inaugural campaign in Cambridge. He's joined by fellow All-American Brandon McLaughlin, who finished 10-8. Overall, Harvard returns 97.6 percent (160/164) of its matches won in 2011-12.

Third is the Word
In the CSA preseason rankings, Harvard was ranked as the third best team in college squash. The Crimson sits behind No. 1 Princeton and No. 2 Trinity, who finished in those positions to conclude last season, as well.

Related Article: Men's Squash Ranked No. 3 in CSA Preseason Rankings

New Faces
Six freshmen have joined the squad for the 2012-13 season. They are Walker EvansSam GoldbergPeter JanulisJake MatthewsMatt Roberts and James Watkins. The sextet hails from four states (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut) and three countries (the United States, South Africa and the United Kingdom).

Last Season
Harvard outlasted Cornell, 5-4, in the third-place match of the CSA Team Championships in Princeton, N.J. Ali Farag breezed to an easy victory at No. 1, while then-junior captain No. 8 Jason Michas and then-sophomore No. 2 Brandon McLaughlin both rallied from 2-0 deficits to lift Harvard past the Big Red.

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 27-10 mark, including a 16-4 record last year. Both of his assistants, Reg Schonborn and Luke Hammond, are back for 2012-13, as well.

Related Video: Men's Squash Looks to Build on Success in 2012-13

About No. 5 Rochester
The Yellow Jackets are off to a scintillating start in 2012-13 after winning the Liberty League Championship for the sixth straight year Nov. 18. Rochester swept Hobart, Vassar and Bard, 9-0, before just slipping past St. Lawrence, 5-4, in the title match. Senior Andres Duany, who finished last season at No. 6 in the CSA individual rankings, is the team's top returning player. Harvard leads the all-time series, 4-2, after sweeping both matches last year, winning 7-2 Jan. 28 and 6-3 Feb. 2.

About No. 29 Tufts
Tufts enters the weekend with a 4-0 mark after knocking off Vermont (9-0), Boston University (7-2), Boston College (8-1) and MIT (5-4). No. 1 Zachary Schweitzer and No. 2 Aditya Advani both bring unblemished marks into this weekend's match. Harvard has won all 12 meetings between the two schools with the last coming Nov. 21, 1991. 

About No. 40 California
The Golden Bears have yet to play in 2012-13, but the team finished last season ranked No. 35 and third in the Chaffee Cup. 

Up Next
Harvard hosts Williams in another Wednesday evening showdown, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.