No. 1 Bantams Fend Off Challenge From No. 4 Elis, 7-2

No. 1 Bantams Fend Off Challenge From No. 4 Elis, 7-2

Jan. 25, 2006

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - No. 1 Trinity held off a late charge from No. 4 Yale to post a 7-2 win Wednesday night at the Brady Squash Center. Julian Illingworth and Francis Johnson came up with wins for the Elis, while Ho Ming Chiu and Andrew Vinci both pushed their opponents to five games before falling.

"Across the board, we competed in every match," said head coach Dave Talbott. "We had an opportunity to win five, which hasn't happened recently for us against Trinity."

Last season against the Bantams, the Bulldogs got a win from Illingworth at No. 1 but won only two games combined at the other eight spots. This time around the matchup was much closer.

The Elis' night got off to a rough start, with Trinity taking all four of the opening matches -- including three in straight sets. But Yale battled back late, with Illingworth pulling out the first win of the night at No. 1. With the match 2-0, Bantam freshman Gustav Detter staved off defeat with a 9-4 win in the third game. Illingworth then took the first seven points of the fourth game en route to a 9-4 final.

The other highlight for Yale came at No. 9, where Johnson trailed 2-0 to Simba Muhwati before staging a dramatic rally. He won the finals three games 9-8, 10-8 and 9-3.

"Francis is our best freshman," Talbott said. "We've been waiting for him to come through like this."

Chiu, who along with Max Samuel posted Yale's only two non-Illingworth wins against Trinity last season, pushed Jacques Swanepoel to a decisive fifth game at No. 3 by rallying for a 9-8 win in the fourth. Swanepoel claimed victory with a 9-2 win.

Vinci also rallied to force a fifth game against Neil Robertson at No.7, as he trailed 2-0 before reeling off back-to-back 9-6 wins. Robertson then won 9-6.

With those five-game efforts, the tenacity the Bulldogs showed leaves reason for optimism.

"We've got to use this as a springboard for the Ivy championship," Talbott said. "I'm real proud of the team. We can win the Ivies."

Yale plays two matches at Navy on Saturday, against Navy and George Washington, before traveling to Princeton the following weekend.

No. 1 Julian Illingworth (Y) def. Gustav Detter (T) 3-1 (9-6, 9-2, 4-9, 9-4)
No. 2 Shaun Johnstone (T) def. Nick Chirls (Y) 3-0 (9-2, 9-3, 9-1)
No. 3 Jacques Swanepoel (T) def. Ho Ming Chiu (Y) 3-2 (6-9, 9-5, 9-6, 8-9, 9-2)
No. 4 Sahil Vora (T) def. Max Samuel (Y) 3-0 (9-0, 9-5, 9-1)
No. 5 Yvain Badan (T) def. Moshe Sarfaty (Y) 3-0 (9-2, 9-2, 9-0)
No. 6 Manek Mathur (T) def. Avner Geva (Y) 3-1 (9-3, 9-8, 8-9, 9-4)
No. 7 Neil Robertson (T) def. Andrew Vinci (Y) 3-2 (9-2, 9-5, 6-9, 6-9, 9-6)
No. 8 Colgate Smith (T) def. Trevor Rees (Y) 3-0 (9-6, 9-6, 9-3)
No. 9 Francis Johnson (Y) def. Simba Muhwati (T) 3-2 (4-9, 6-9, 9-8, 10-8, 9-3)

report by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity