If you play enough matches that come down to the wire, one is eventually going to go the other way. That was the story for the top-ranked Princeton men's squash team Friday night, as it fell 5-4 at fifth-ranked Cornell.
The Big Red, a 2012 team semifinalist, had its share of close losses to some of the nation's top teams throughout the season. In its home finale, it used a pair of five-game wins to hand Princeton its first loss of the season.
While the loss means Princeton can't earn the Ivy League title outright this season, it can still clinch a share of the crown with one more victory. The Tigers are 5-1, and a home win Sunday at 2:30 over Columbia would clinch a share of Princeton's 18th Ivy League title.
Meanwhile, the winner of Sunday's Harvard-Yale match in Cambridge is assured no worse than a split of the league title. Both teams lost to Princeton, but have gone unbeaten against the rest of the league.
Cornell used 2-1 advantages in both of the first two shifts to build a 4-2 lead. Princeton got its first win from Tyler Osborne at the No. 3 spot, but Cornell got wins at both No. 6 and No. 9 to open a 2-1 lead.
Princeton got its second win at the No. 8 spot, as freshman Vivek Dinodia won in three games, but Cornell reclaimed the lead at No. 5. The crucial match came at No. 2, where Cornell's Aditya Jagtap rallied from a 2-1 deficit to outlast Samuel Kang in five sets. That put the Big Red on the brink heading into the final shift, and it was a margin it would need.
As Princeton senior co-captain Todd Harrity was finishing off Nick Sachvie in a rematch of the 2011 national final, Cornell claimed the team win with a 3-2 victory at the No. 7 spot. Princeton sophomore David Hoffman, who earned the winning point at Yale, pushed the match to the limit before finally falling 11-9 in the fifth set.
Tiger junior Dylan Ward closed the match with a 3-2 win at the No. 4 spot, a match that ended with Ward taking a 15-13 fifth set.
On Sunday, Princeton will take on Columbia in the Ivy League finale at the Jadwin Squash Courts. The Lions are in their second year as an Ivy program, but they are close to breaking into the national Top 10. One highlight of Sunday's showdown will come at the No. 1 spot, as Harrity will take on Coulmbia's Ramit Tandon, a 2012 national finalist. Tandon knocked Harrity out of the CSA semifinal last season.
Princeton hopes the biggest highlight comes afterwards, when it can celebrate a second straight league crown.
No. 5 CORNELL 5, No. 1 PRINCETON 4
1. Todd Harity (P) def. Nick Sachvie, 11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5
2. Aditya Jagtap (C) def. Samuel Kang, 4-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8
3. Tyler Osborne (P) def. Arjun Gupta, 11-6, 11-9, 11-3
4. Dylan Ward (P) def. Michael Sunderland, 14-12, 10-12, 11-13, 11-5, 15-13
5. Owen Butler (C) def. Steve Harrington, 11-5, 11-5, 12-10
6. Ryan Todd (C) def. Taylor Tutrone, 11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6
7. Bryan Keating (C) def. David Hoffman, 11-8, 10-12, 6-11, 11-5, 11-9
8. Vivek Dinodia (P) def. Graham Dietz, 11-5, 11-3, 11-5
9. Abhijit Malik (C) def. Michael LeBlanc, 12-10, 11-9, 11-9
Ex. Ash Egan (P) def. Matthew Shang, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9