M. SQUASH | Trinity does it again

Aaron Fuchs ’10 hits a shot during the finals of the CSA Team Championship against Trinity at the Brady Squash Center on Sunday. The Elis fell to the 11-time defending national champion Bantams 6–3.
Aaron Fuchs ’10 hits a shot during the finals of the CSA Team Championship against Trinity at the Brady Squash Center on Sunday. The Elis fell to the 11-time defending national champion Bantams 6–3. Photo by Brittany Golob.

To conclude its unprecedented 224th consecutive win, the No. 1 Trinity squash team was crowned with its 12th straight national title — which came at the expense of the No. 2 Yale squad and not without some drama.

The Bulldogs, who fell to the Bantams 8–1 in regular season play, lost 6–3 in the College Squash Association championship match, conceding the national title to the visiting Trinity team. But what stole the show was an altercation following Baset Chaudry’s 3–0 title-clinching victory over Kenneth Chan ’13 in the No. 1 spot.

As Chaudhry was leaving the court to join the celebration Trinity’s team and fans had started on the floor, he surprisingly shoved Chan back onto the court, marring the historic night and concluding a heated match between the two players that included taunting not normally seen in squash.

“I thought it was just a pretty classless match,” Yale head coach David Talbott said. “I’ve never really seen that in a squash match.”

In the regular season contest against their in-state rivals Jan. 20, the Bulldogs eked out just one match victory on a Robert Berner ’12 win. This time around, the Bulldogs prepared differently for the match, including watching the documentary “Miracle on Ice” for inspiration.

“We tried to work on controlling the court more,” Talbott said. “We tried to put the ball deep in the court and play more conservatively and didn’t open up the court. It was mostly patience.”

Each of the three rounds saw one Yale victory, and it was C.J. Plimpton’s ’11 in the opening round.

Plimpton took the opening two sets before dropping the third. He then came back and topped Reinhold Hergeth 11–6 to take the third set and the match.

But that was the Elis’ only success of the first round. Aaron Fuchs ’10 lost a tough one in the No. 2 spot to Supreet Singh, dropping the first game of the hard-fought battle on a long point that he deflected over the front wall before going on to lose 3–0. Naishadh Lalwani ’11 and Ryan Dowd ’12 were also blanked 3–0.

The second round opened with all three Bulldog competitors falling behind 1–0. No. 3 captain Todd Ruth ’10, playing on center court in front of a vocal crowd, struggled early in his match against Parth Sharma. After conceding the first two sets, he had a 9–8 lead before Sharma came back to win the set and the match, 3–0, with an 11–9 win in the final set.

But John Roberts ’12 overtook his Bantam opponent by posting three solid sets en route to a 3-1 win

“We definitely came in fired up,” Richard Dodd ’13 said. “We wanted to up our performance and we were on a high from winning the Ivy championship.”

But the Elis were not to add a national title to their Ivy title as the third round of matches got off to a disappointing start for Yale.

Chan faced off against Baset on center court to begin the round and was dominated from the onset. Chaudhry, the top-ranked individual in the country, used his six-foot-five frame to his advantage as the speedy Chan had difficulty getting around the Bantam. Chan dropped the three sets, only making a strong showing in the second, forcing Chaudhry to notch 12 points to Chan’s 10 to take the set.

The match was the deciding one for the national championship as it began before the other two matches in the final round. Leading 5–2 before the final three pairs took the court, Trinity only needed Chaudhry to beat Chan to clinch the title.

Following some discussion between the coaches and officials, Trinity was named the national champion, but Dodd and Hywel Robinson ’13 had yet to finish their matches.

Dodd, in almost an exact replay of his match against Trinity during the regular season, got off to a good start by winning the opening set in a 13–12 nailbiter. He and Chris Binnie traded sets for the next three to carry the match into a decisive fifth set, the only pair of the competition to do so.

“Coming into the last game, I was pumped,” Dodd said. “I couldn’t quite keep my focus.”

Dodd and Binnie went back and forth until Binnie took a decisive 10-9 lead. He then won the match on the next point as Dodd dropped the heartbreaker 3–2.

Robinson chalked up the many close sets and matches to bad luck.

“I think Trinity was just a little bit better than us today,” he said. “Overall I think [what we needed] was a little more luck and they had luck on their side today.”

Robinson secured the Elis’ third and final victory of the competition as he dominated Vikram Malholtra for three sets after dropping the first 11–2.

“I just wanted to play hard and show some pride,” he said about the match.

The Bantams again proved too much for the Elis and took home the national title and new baseball caps with “XII” embroidered on them to commemorate their historic streak of 12 consecutive national championships.

Yet, the Elis were pleased to walk away from the 2009-’10 season with a 14–2 record and the Ivy League title.

“I’m so proud of the way the kids played,” Talbott said. “It was an incredible season.”

Comments

  • Bantams

    Fans showed up wearing the XII hats, and Trinity largely provided other lavish examples of how not to behave both on and off the court all day long. I’ll hand it to you: you’re really good at squash, Trinity. Wish there was more to say.

  • Concerned Observer

    Chaudhry’s actions constituted assault and battery. The Trinity fans were also boorish. Their players contested clear rulings, argued at length with the judging, and did not call their own double bounces. Paul is a class act as a coach, but he has clearly lost control of the Trinity program. Paul’s quote about “tickey-tackey” play in the Hartford Courant is belied by the many photo’s of Chaudhry using his 6’5″ size to block, trip and intimidate the 5’4″ Chan throughout the match. There should be sanctions.

  • TD’04
  • Concerned Observer is from Yale

    Assault and battery! HA! Ever watch a sporting event before Concerned Observer? People like you crying for justice when no wrong has been committed are poor sports. Chaudhry was retaliating to earlier remarks but that side of the story seems to be absent from your point of view.

    Sanctions… Obviously you have never been harassed in your life.

  • Bantam ’87

    Oh Boo Hoo! We want sanctions! In truth, both players were engaged in the same kind of brinksmanship, but Chaudry emerged on top. It’s called testosterone. Ever heard of it?

  • Nerd on Nerd Crime

    Chaudhry is just a dweeby kid assert dominance over a 5’4″ imp. I’m sure it was the result of years of ridicule and teasing while he was in high school. He acted the fool and Chan should have shown some backbone. No major issue here, just embarrassing.

  • Knickerbocker

    Man, are those grapes sour or what?

  • bantams baby!

    clearly some people are forgetting that Chan started the whole thing when he yelled Baset. Real nice Yale

  • Yale Player

    Trinity were better than us yesterday but Chaudry is known for his unsportsmanlike blocking. He pushed Kenny around all match, forcing Kenny to play through situations that should not have occurred. In one case, Kenny did just that, won the point and gave out a celebratory shout, while passing Chaudry on the way to pick up the ball. That is a world removed from Chaudry screaming in Kenny’s face, not shaking his hand, and then shoving him back on the court. ESPN had a clip with both coaches and it is clear throughout that Chaudry lost control. As for the fans, they embarrassed themselves. Whether they were the many former American players who constitute the 12-30 spots on the Trinity team, whose only role is to get drunk before matches, or the one guy I saw being held up, too wasted to even see the matches. Trinity won but they didn’t show much class.

  • Yale Observer

    I watched most all of the matches and noticed that Yale players were also debating and arguing over calls along with some other questionable behavior. I get that the it was stressful, but it is unfair to say that all of the Trinity players or fans are classless because of the actions of one person. Additionally, the fans were NOT embarrassing themselves. From what I saw, they (both Yale and Trinity fans) were respectable and polite throughout the games.

  • Bantam fan

    Man up, Yalies. The better team won. You’d be better served to redouble your efforts for next season than to start making excuses for being second best.

  • 12

    Last time I checked the “former American players who constitute the 12-30 spots on the Trinity team” still get rings.

  • Harvard not Yale supporter

    Trinity coach had to stop play in the Number 8 match. He stepped on the court, pointed up at his own #9 player (who had just lost) and who was calling the game and said “CALL THEM CLEAN”; Never seen that in 15 years of squash. Paul A. is a coach for the ages, but his players let him down big time Sunday, and everybody who was in the building knows it.

  • Obnoxious

    I can’t believe there’s even a question about Chaudry’s actions. That was the worst display of sportsmanship I have ever seen.

    You’re right, Trinity fans, that the better team won. But that doesn’t mean that they won with class. Big difference.

  • Anon

    There is a difference between trashtalking during the match and being a really poor sport afterwards

  • @13

    I saw it, too. Unprecedented and appropriate intervention. How can you be winning it for a 12th time and not be able to act like you’ve been there before?

  • Miss Manners

    Squash? Not sure if these guys can even lift a squash…or a pumpkin for that matter.

  • NESCAC player

    I like what I saw. Although i think Baset went overboard when he put his hands on Chan when he was trying to leave the court, I dont mind what happened otherwise. Its the finals of Nationals and it was an intense match. Of course there was going to be a lot of emotion. I think the big thing in this story is that everything is getting placed on Baset, nothing on Chan or the Yale team. Its not like Baset acted that way for no reason. The yale team is known for being obnoxious and unsportsmanlike. Just watch any match that Fuchs plays. I have gotten to play both teams before. All I have to say is that Trinity players have always been gracious winners and nice individuals who don’t act a certain way even though they know they are better. I cannot say the same for Yale. If you are going to judge Baset on one incident, i think Yale should took at how they act as a team and then reconsider. Overall, i think college squash needs to do something about the arguing that has been getting worse and worse. Just play the game. Baset might have gone a little overboard, but dont just point fingers at him. And whoever the Yale player that wrote above, dont be a female dog and take the loss like a man and stop taking away from what Trinity accomplished.

  • Geoff

    I saw the match in question, and Chan’s taunting of Chaudry at 2-2 in the second game was absolutely a mirror image of Chaudry’s match ending taunt. “Yale Player’s” observation about that is inaccurate. Nor did “Chaudry push Chan around all match.” Look at the videos of the match again and look at any of Chaudry’s other matches on video. He doesn’t push opponents around; he holds his ground and often is called for lets and strokes as a consequence. You could also compare Chan’s style of advancing to the ball with other’s who have played Chaudry. Chan prefers to cut corners to such an extent that he almost willingly takes dives over Chaudry’s feet. Look at Trinity-Williams this year: no one can say that Ethan Buchsbaum was pushed around or blocked from reaching the ball. It looked to me that Mr. Chan was more trying to make a point than to win a match.

  • Oldbantam

    Trinity has been winning for 12 years with grace and class and then we have one incident where Baset clearly was wrong and over-reacted to Chan (who instigated in the second game – exact same action) and all those who are frustrated by the “Streak” come out of the closet with sour grapes comments. Total knee-jerk. Assaiante addressed the incident swiftly and decisively on video right after the match, but Dave Talbot can’t do the same??

    Take some responsibility for your own players. Callahan at Princeton did the same thing last February before the NC match on tape for a ESPN documentary on Trinity squash. Baj at Harvard had the exact scenario 3 years ago in a match at Harvard that went down to the wire where one of his players was making “questionable” calls as the referee and you think he would do what Paul did with his player mentioned above? Never.

    And spare me the sanctimonius comments about fan behavior Yalies. At the earlier match at Yale in late Jan, fans were repeatedly doing the USA, USA chant and safety school chant … give me a break. Heard the same childish stuff at Princeton last year.

  • Racquet Sports

    Anyone who has played squash, racquetball or handball understands that some players will put their body in front of the path of the opposite player from time to time. Although this is annoying, it is a gray area that shouldn’t be the basis of any arguments. This is a common occurrence that players simply have to deal with. Chaudry squeaked by Chan to get blocked balls while Chan seemed more keen to give up in my opinion. Recent comments have been much more sensible on this blog than the original two calling for assault and battery. Someone call 911!!

  • Squash Fan

    Having watched the entire matach from the stands I would agree that Chan from Yale was clearly the instigator of the incident by his on court behavior. Baset used his size,strength and positioning to his advantage just like he should! This is just like Zidane’s famous headbutt during the world cup a few years ago where the person who is retaliating was crucified by the media and the public. Having said that what Baset did was clearly wrong!! He is the better player and the senior captain of the best team in the nation and should have showed more restrain and class.

  • Trinity Senior

    Win with class? This is college sports we are talking about! You stuck up Yale kids need to learn to enjoy life a little more. My suggestion … come to a Trinity Party, we’d be happy to show you the fun you just can’t get in New Haven.

  • Just a question

    One of the great things about a great university is that it provides a forum for a divergence of opinion. Many Trinity squash enthusiasts have chimed in above – where do Yale students/players find the same freedom of speech at Trinity? Did Trinity even cover this story that has surfaced on ESPN, the Huffington Post, the Hartford Courant and, as of today, network news? As for the facts, I believe that Baset probably was annoyed having to play a younger, smaller player at his last National Championships, and totally irritated that that said player would try and run around him, go for hard to get to balls, and play to win. Maybe Baset just responded with malice because upstarts aren’t suppose to challenge squash gods. The problem is, if you don’t respect your opponent and you dishonor your coach and college – does that forever tarnish your legacy? Maybe the Trinity Tripod could provide a forum to answer just that question – when do arrogance and malice create a hostile sports environment that demand CSA sanctions?

  • Hands Off

    Trinity won! GREAT NOW Suspend The 26 or is he 28 YEAR OLD. Repeat as you would tell 3 year olds keep your hands to your self. SUSPEND HIM FROM THE Individual Nationals. Any other ath;lete would be suspended instantly .. Nice win . it will ciost you in the long run.

  • california

    what a loser. Everyone that supports this person after what he did is moronic. The kid was 2 feet taller than that little asian. Congrats man, your awesome at sqaush!

  • Sick of Yale

    Having played in both places for many years and observed both programs at close range I have formed some clear opinions.

    It is clear to me that Yale players in general are disrespectful of the teams they play. More annoying is the sense of entitlement exhibited by their players and actively cultivated by their coach. If anyone in the game of squash is truly classless its David T. His “sour grapes” comments after this years loss are just one example of an ongoing pattern. Yale would be good to send him packing. I’m sure it would help their recruiting.

    In contrast, Paul A is a class act. His teams uniformly include players that are respectful, humble and lovely to be around. It is not uncommon for Trinity teams to win both the national title but also the associated sportsman award as well. It is great to see him succeed against the Ivy league powerhouses.

  • @27

    Persuasive…unless you’ve been to a match, and know Coach Talbott…in which case, ludicrous. This was an intense match between a great team and a good one. The better team won. But had your guy done what any reasonable person would consider the right thing, squash would be just as obscure as it’s always been. The match concluded, and the title won, he stepped over the line. Does that make him a bad person? No, but there’s no excusing the choice…which is why you’re relegated to making ridiculous attacks on Coach Talbott.

  • Squasher

    This entire dust-up is ridiculous. Chaudry gave back exactly what he received in the second game — nothing more, nothing less. The only difference is Yale lost. And THAT is the real basis of the griping you hear here.

  • @29

    Completely right.

    @24 – Everyone making comments against Yale is not from Trinity. I play on the squash club at University of Michigan and have contributed a couple comments. This is not a Trinity conspiracy.

  • TD’04

    @#29: But he didn’t. He gave back far more. What would he have done after the final rally had his teammates not held him back?

  • to #29

    The lame slo-mo Trinity defense video clip from game 2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUvVR2iwLPs) shows how stupid it is to say “gave back exactly what he received”, especially when you watch the whole 2-part incident on ESPN at (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/squash/7306014/Bizarre-American-squash-court-outburst-overshadows-Trinity-College-national-title.html). Yale never expected to win, so sore loser is not the issue. Chaudhry was way out of line. Even your hometown newspaper agrees (http://www.courant.com/sports/college/hc-jeffcol0224.artfeb24,0,2824000.column).

  • every action has a consequence

    Having played against Paul Assiante teams when he was at West Point this type of behavior would not be tolertaed. Trinity won Congrats! The actions after the match need to be to dealt with by suspending him. Otherwise The CSA has no backbone make the tough decision for the integrity of the GAME. Paul you know if you were coaching at West Point no questions asked he broke the rules by shoving his opponent. NOW sit this one out.

  • By George

    Chaudry is so proud of himself at his efforts in a “sport” that 99.9% of the population doesn’t play or care to play. He’s definitely the loser in this case.

  • @trinity trolls

    You make it sound as though you were the underdogs. “Traditional Ivy League powerhouses?” You guys have been winning for the last twelve YEARS; we have nothing to be bitter or stiffly proud about. Shoot, we were happy to take 3 off you. No, this is very much about the sportsmanship.

    Oh, and Trinity Senior? Have you been to Yale recently? Guarantee Trinity kids are waaaaay more stuck up. The popped collar ratio is overwhelmingly in your favor. We’re just smarter.

  • David L

    “We’re just smarter.”

    Nice.

    It’s an athletic contest, you yelping puppies. Things get a little out of hand once in a while. It’s called human nature.

    “Sanctions.”

    Jerks. Arrogant, entitled jerks.

  • @36

    YDN: you need to stop posting ridiculous trolls from idiots at other schools, such as #36.

  • Trinity Squash Player, circa 1963

    I, for one, will miss Baset and Kenneth Chan at the individual championships next weekend. It is a shame that, after these voluntary sanctions are over, we won’t have a chance to cheer for both players as they return to the courts. As a Trinity Alumnus, I was proud of Baset’s and Coach Assaiante’s apologies and their effort to reach all the coaches of the CSA member teams. Can anyone tell me if Mr. Chan and Coach Talbott have publicly expressed any apologies or accepted any degree of responsibility for the incident? If in fact they have not, then I would tend to believe what some previous writers have reported about the Yale team’s lack of sportsmanship .

  • to TSP circa 1963

    Yes, we would all would enjoy seeing Baset play, but that would tell all young squash players that being the best player can excuse horrible behavior.

    Asking Yale to apologize is to Blame the Victim. Chan’s expressions of emotion – even if he ‘started it’ – were not in violation of Squash’s rules. Chaudhry’s displays were clearly in violation. Now Chan is likely scared to go to the individual championships being held at Trinity (who see him as the downfall of their beloved gentle giant), and so he suffers the same fate as Chaudhry.

  • oldbantam

    to by @27:
    I have actually seen Coach Talbot in action 3 times. He had an opportunity to show what he is made of at the late January match vs Trinity when the Yale students started with some childish and (yes) racist comments. When that happens at Trinity matches, Paul stops the match to tell the fans to cease and desist, but Talbot did not then. Why not??

    He was totally out of line to publically to ESPN, the Courant and this pub, say what he said about Baset while staying totally silent about Chan. Then he totally does a 180 on MOnday when ESPN and other news services start grilling both coaches about what happened and what should be done. I would expect fans and passionate observers to make the statements Talbot made, but not the opposing coach. Totally lame on Talbot’s part.

    And where is the Yale “fairness” about the posted video clips? Why have we not seen published the clip of Chan doing the same thing to Baset in the 2nd game? Unh??? Man up and post both clips and let US decide.

    And the reason us Trinity fans are posting here is that this news publication AND the Courant are not reporting the full story that took place @ Yale. So far the only version of the story that comes to the whole truth is the one on ESPN by a football commentator (Merrill Hoge).

    Its time to post the entire video clips, not the inflammatory last one. Very lame

  • to oldbantam

    This is absurd. Baset’s actions were completely out of character and he’s suffering consequences far beyond what’s reasonable. But the fact remains that he shoved his opponent back onto the court at the end of the match and had to be held back by his former trinity teammates. That is categorically different from every other interaction the two players had while on court. You do not attack your opponent. Notice that the ESPN commentary by Merrill Hoge cuts the tape right before this occurs. We all see what we want to see, but nobody wants to see something like that.
    As for Coach Talbott, he was angry about the ugly display on both sides throughout the match, and said what everybody was thinking, that Baset should not be allowed to play in the individuals. He later realized, and explained this on ESPN, that the decision was one for first Trinity and Baset to make, and then, if they felt it was necessary, the CSA people could decide.

  • Trinity Squash Player circa 1963

    To reply to Mr. 39: Can you tell us what if anything was said by either Chan or Chaudry as Chan left the court? Are you so absolutely certain that there was no provocation which precipitated the shoving incident?
    As for the question of Yale apologizing, you have lurched completely to the dark side in not acknowledging that the shades of gray in this situation. To accept an apology and appreciate the gesture is far more sportsmanlike than to consider oneself above the fray.

  • R. Wich

    Could someone tell me when–and why–”sets” replaced games in reporting squash results? For decades, and playing in 7 different countries,I and everyone I knew used the scoring: points-games-match. In tennis it is points-games-sets-match, having an additional category.

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