No. 2 Men's Squash Travels to No. 10 Dartmouth for Season Opener

No. 2 Men's Squash Travels to No. 10 Dartmouth for Season Opener

McLaughlin was named second-team All-America last season (photo courtsey: Gil Talbot). 

Scene Setter
The No. 2 Harvard men's squash team begins its season Tuesday at No. 10 Dartmouth before welcoming a trio of teams to the Murr Center Dec. 6-7. Harvard is looking to build on its strong showing in 2012-13 when the squad went 17-3 and won a share of the Ivy League title for the first time since 2006. The Crimson went on to finish second at nationals, marking the program's highest finish since 2004-05.

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Last Season
After securing a come-from-behind win over Princeton in the semifinals, the then No. 3 Harvard men's team came one step closer to claiming its 31st national championship.  The Crimson fell short as the team dropped a, 6-3, decision to Trinity in the championship match. Alexander Ma, Nigel Koh and Ali Farag each captured wins but it just wasn't enough to propel Harvard past Trinity.

Welcome Back
Harvard returns 20 members of last year's squad with reigning Ivy League Player of the Year Ali Farag and fellow All-American Brandon McLaughlin anchoring the returnees. Farag returns for his final season after posting a 16-2 mark at the No. 1 position and reached the CSA Individual National Championship semifinals. McLaughlin finished 14-5 as a junior. 

Second is the Best
In the CSA preseason rankings, Harvard was ranked as the second best team in college squash. The Crimson sits behind No. 1 Trinity.

Related Link: Men's Squash Tabbed Second in Preseason Poll

New Faces
Four freshmen will join the squad for the 2013-14 season. Bryan Koh, Devlin McLaughlin, Gordon Michas and Dylan Murray make up the class of 2017. Two hail from New York, while one calls Singapore home and the other comes from Pennsylvania.

Related Link: Men's Squash Adds Four Student-Athletes for 2013-14

Leading the Way
Mike Way, The Gregory Lee '87 and Russell Ball '88 Endowed Coach for Squash at Harvard University, returns for his fourth season at the helm of the Crimson. In three seasons, his teams have posted a combined 32-13 mark, including a 17-3 record last year. Assistant coach Luke Hammond returns for his third while Hameed Ahmed enters his first season at Harvard.

Related Link: Hameed Ahmed Joins Harvard Squash Coaching Staff

Successful Starts
Harvard is 56-1 in its last 57 opening matches dating back to 1956. The Crimson has won 35 consecutive lid lifters, including 27 by shutout after last year's 9-0 win against Boston College, since falling to Western Ontario, 5-4, to kickoff the 1977-78 season. The Crimson registered three straight shutout victories to start off the 2012-13 season.

About No. 10 Dartmouth
The Big Green finished the 2012-13 season with a 9-9 record and a third place finish in the Hoehn Cup at the Men's National Team Championships.Despite losing No. 1 Chris Hanson and No. 2 Robbie Maycock to graduation, the Big Green return six of their top nine players while also adding five new players.  Last season, Harvard blanked Dartmouth 9-0 behind strong performances from Farag, McLaughlin and then senior Jason Michas.

Up Next
Harvard will return to the friendly confines of the Murr Center, Saturday Dec. 6 to take on Drexel at 5 p.m. and Boston College at 7:30 p.m. before welcoming Western Ontario Sunday Dec. 7 at 11:30 a.m.