March 6, 2005
Michelle Quibell overcame a 9-7 loss in the first game and won three straight over Harvard's Kyla Grigg as Yale's top player captured her second consecutive College Squash Association National Championship today at Dartmouth's Berry Center.
Quibell, showing nerves of steel and the hands of a surgeon, carved out the last three games 9-1, 9-2 and 9-5 with great patience in a battle that included many drop shots. She never trailed after the first game and tallied seven straight points in game two on her way to a school record two individual national titles.
"Michelle had been hurt and lost to Kyla in the regular season. Michelle beat her in the Howe Cup but was still trying to get her confidence back," said Yale head coach Dave Talbott. "She just needed to feel 100 percent healthy, and that just happened over the last two weeks."
Last year at Canton, N.Y., the Yale junior became only the second Bulldog to capture the national title and the first since Berkeley Belknap in 1991.
"I lucked out because Kyla had a hard match last night. I knew I had to be patient with her and stay in front of her," said Quibell, who has won two of the three meetings with Grigg. "I tried to speed things up. Being the No. 1 seed is harder because you have all the pressure on your shoulders. This means a lot to our team and it's the icing on the cake. I am very happy to do it for Dave [Talbott]."
For all the scores from the championships, go to www.squashtalk.com.
Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director