March 4, 2005
Julian Illingworth and Michelle Quibell both won two matches to advance to the quarterfinals of the Collegiate Squash Association Individual Championships on a busy day for the Bulldogs at the Dartmouth squash complex.
Illingworth, the No. 2 seed in the Pool Division, opened with an easy, 30-minute, 3-0 win over Penn's Jacob Himmelrich (32). Yale's top player allowed just two points in 9-2, 9-0, 9-0 decision. He won his next match in four games.
While the men's side of the CSA draw was evenly distributed, there was some controversy with the women. Yale's top three players, Quibell (1), Amy Gross (4) and Catherine McLeod (5) were all placed in the top half of the Ramsay Cup bracket, which means there could be a Blue-on-Blue battle in Saturday's quarterfinals, which is much earlier than anyone would expect from the two-time defending national champions.
Quibell enjoyed her first-ever meeting with Trinity's Siobhan Knight, taking a three-game match (6,0,3) in half an hour. Yale's top player then survived a 10-8 opening game to beat Harvard's Audrey Duboc in three games.
Gross, who coach Dave Talbott and many of the experts felt should have been seeded third, quickly dispatched Penn's Caitlin Russell (4,7,1) and then won in three games to set up a meeting with another Yalie.
McCleod also won in three (0,2,3) over Ashley Malenchak on the Dartmouth player's home court before sweeping Trinity's Lauren Polonich in the next round (4, 2, 2). McCleod will face Gross on Saturday in the quarters.
Miranda Ranieri (6) lost her first game and then won three straight over Freddy McNeely of Franklin & Marshall to advance to the second round where she was not as fortunate. Ranieri lost a pair of 10-8 games and fell in three.
"This is a really difficult tournament to play in," said Ho, competing in her fourth individual national event. "After the team championship, it is very anticlimactic to play in this. It's all about the team to me and I feel the Howe Cup was the end of my season."
Ho said that she and her teammates had come from a number of emotional battles with league rivals over the last month, so to compete against members of your own team takes a lot out of the event. She also was not very pleased with the way the draw was arranged for the Yale women.
On the men's side in the top division, only Illingworth survived the first day. No. 16 seed Josh Schwartz fell (10-8,6,6) to Jacques Swanepoel (19) of Trinity in one of the hardest fought matches of the opening round. Nick Chirls (21) lost in three to Gilly Lane of Penn and Trevor Rees (31) was downed in four by Trinity's Bernardo Samper (3).
Chris Wyant and Max Samuel both won their first-round matches in the Malloy ("B") Division.
"When we play our dual matches, we usually have a week to prepare for it. Here we could play five matches in three days," said Wyant, who is competing in his first CSA Individual event. "It's brutal, but it is fun. There are a lot of great players and it's really good squash."
For all the scores from the CSA Individual Championships at Dartmouth, go to www.squashtalk.com.
Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director