The Harvard University men’s squash team earned a very close, hard fought victory over Trinity College in the final of the 2023 National Collegiate Men’s Team Championship held at Trinity on Sunday afternoon. The championship is Harvard’s fourth Potter Cup title in a row.
The match-up was destined for instant classic status from the beginning, with each of the first wave of matches lasting over an hour, including two five-game battles. Trinity, seemingly a historic underdog as the 6-seed, grabbed the early advantage with wins at Nos. 2 and 8 for a 2-1 lead.
Belief was overflowing in the host’s building as the second set of matches commenced, and the home crowd clamored for what could have been an early-clinching set of victories. First, they earned a third win via the No. 6 position. Then, their No. 3 and No. 9 players reached 2-1 and 2-2 match scores, respectively.
Harvard, a seasoned program with immense championship experience, would refuse to go quietly. As the No. 3 and No. 9 matches lasted well into their second hour, the Crimson players kept grinding and finding a way. After fending off a couple match balls which would have granted Trinity a fourth victory, both Harvard players prevailed 11-9 in the fifth games in rapid succession. What could have been a 4-2 or 5-1 scoreline turned out to be 3-3 with everything on the line in the last wave of matches.
In the only three-game match of the day, Harvard’s No. 5 earned the team’s fourth point relatively quickly. This left Harvard needing only one win out of the final two matches to secure the championship. Much like the weekend prior when the Harvard women clinched their victory in the No. 1 match, the men’s team had the same opportunity with former CSA Individual Champion Marwan Tarek on court.
Tarek and Trinity’s Mohamad Sharaf traded game wins to start the match, but the Harvard player gained control from there. Clinically and methodically, Tarek kept the home fans quiet with decisive third- and fourth-game wins, ultimately clinching Harvard’s overall victory.
Trinity’s valiant effort and magical run to the finals came up just short, but they and Harvard provided college squash fans with an epic finals experience that they will remember for a long time to come.
The B, C, and D Division finals were also played at Trinity on Sunday with the following teams capturing their divisional titles:
- Hoehn Cup (B Division) – Columbia University
- Summers Cup (C Division) – Amherst College
- Conroy Cup (D Division) – Bowdoin College
(1) Harvard University def. (6) Trinity College – 5-4
Third Place Match: (4) Yale University def. (2) University of Pennsylvania – 5-4
Fifth Place Match: (7) Drexel University def. (8) Cornell University – 7-2
Seventh Place Match: (3) Princeton University def. (5) University of Virginia – 5-4
(1) Columbia University def. (2) Dartmouth College – 6-3
Third Place Match: (4) Western Ontario def. (6) Williams College – 7-2
Fifth Place Match: (3) Chatham University def. (8) Franklin and Marshall College – 6-3
Seventh Place Match: (5) University of Rochester def. (7) Tufts University – 5-4
(2) Amherst College def. (4) St. Lawrence University – 6-3
Third Place Match: (1) MIT def (6) Hobart College – 5-4
Fifth Place Match: (5) Middlebury College def. (3) Bates College – 5-4
Seventh Place Match: (7) Colby College def. (8) Hamilton College – 9-0
(1) Bowdoin College def. (3) Dickinson College – 7-2
Third Place Match: (2) Naval Academy def. (4) Wesleyan University – 6-3
Fifth Place Match: (5) Haverford College def. (6) Connecticut College – 5-4
Seventh Place: (7) Denison University def. (8) Fordham University – 5-4