squads sweep Harvard, Yalies sweep Princeton
of the biggest weekends of the college season, Trinity handed the previously
undefeated Harvard men's and women's squads their first losses of the
season this past Saturday afternoon in Hartford, while several states
south in Princeton the Tigers (and Tigresses) both lost to Yale. [see
also story on Harvard-Trinity Men's match,
also by Rob Dinerman]
|Yasser El Halaby (l) defeated Julian
Illingworth 3-0 but the Princeton squad fell short, 3-6
Yale-Princeton men's match was the closest of the four, with the Trinity
and Yale women both prevailing 8-1 (in each case suffering their only
loss near the bottom of the line-up) and the Trinity men notching their
98th consecutive dual-meet victory via a convincing though hard-fought
(several crucial tiebreakers all landing in Trinity's column) 7-2 margin.
recent time that the Yale men had defeated Princeton was 10 years ago,
the last hardball season, but a majority of the interceding meets, including
the past two, were settled by a 5-4 score. The 2002 and 2003 campaigns
had seen both the dual-meet and the Potter Trophy play-off go 5-4 to Princeton,
which, in an astonishing sequence of bipartite domination, had in each
case swept the Nos. 1-5 positions while being swept in the Nos. 6-9. Crucial
to that phenomenon had been the performances of the Princeton class of
2003 quartet consisting of Will Evans, David Yik, Danny Rutherford and
Eric Pearson, who manned four of those top five slots virtually throughout
their entire intercollegiate careers.
HALABY VERSUS ILLINGWORTH
In spite of their presence as seniors last year, Yale ventured within
single point 52 weeks ago in New Haven, where Eli freshman Julian Illingworth
grabbed a 2-0, 8-3 lead over fellow freshman Yasser El-Halaby. By this
Yale's four bottom-of-the-order wins were already securely in the books
team's quest for what ultimately would have been their first Ivy League
since the John Musto-Cyrus Mehta 1990 team was just that single match-ball
point away. But El-Halaby saved that match-ball and never allowed another,
running out that game and the fourth and fifth, and thereby serving an
of the Intercollegiate Individual championship that he would capture (over
teammate Evans in the final) five weeks later.
star would dominate his rematch with Illingworth on
Saturday, 9-7, 4 and 2, but Yale swept the remaining matches in the top
ceding only the Nos. 6 and 9 matches to a rebuilding Princeton squad that
of its returning lettermen save El-Halaby move up several positions from
where they stood on last year's varsity. Yale lost 6-3 to Trinity nearly
ago, and, assuming Harvard defeats Princeton this coming weekend, as is
likely to happen, the Yale-Harvard meet in New Haven at the end of this
determine the 2004 Ivy League champion.
win at No. 1 over Trinity's Michael Ferreira was replicated
this past weekend by Crimson sophomore Will Broadbent, who utilized the
game, when he rallied from 0-8 before losing that game in a tiebreaker,
the springboard for his eventual four-game victory. Ferreira had barely
defeating El-Halaby in four on these same Trinity courts in the semis
year's Individuals before collapsing in an anti-climactic 9-1 fifth, a
reversal from which he clearly has yet to recover his confidence, which
surely be tested even further when he again faces El-Halaby in two weeks.
The Yale women, still buoyed by their 5-4 win over Trinity 10 days back,
were much too strong for Princeton, as were the Trinity women in their
decisive triumph over Harvard, though the battle at No. 1 between two-time
Individuals champion Amina Helal and her Crimson counterpart and fellow
senior Louisa Hall was perhaps the esthetic highlight of the weekend.
played at No. 1 for their storied varsities since they were freshmen,
are therefore veterans of the tremendous rivalries (including three 5-4
in one four-match stretch in the early 2000's) that have existed between
these teams at the very top of women's intercollegiate squash.
had psychological obstacles to overcome, Helal due to the two
losses she suffered in five days the prior week to Yale's Michelle Quibell
dual-meet and the Betty Constable Invitational final, Hall in the wake
winless history vs. Helal. After winning a tightly contested first game,
completely lost her concentration and got whitewashed 9-0 in the second.
then regained the initiative in handily winning the third game 9-4 and
out to a safe-appearing 8-3 advantage in the fourth.
courageously came back, swatting aside four match-balls in the
process, and cutting her deficit to all the way to 8-7 before an increasingly
beleaguered Helal was able to regain the serve, draw Hall to the front
her with a forehand crosscourt winner that finalized her 9-5 0-9 9-4 9-7
This talented and highly decorated pair could well meet in both the Howe
national team championships and the Individuals in the remaining five
their outstanding intercollegiate careers.
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