This weekend, representatives from the Yale men’s and women’s squash teams competed in the College Squash Association Individual Championships, which was hosted by Princeton. Though no Bulldog was able to make it past the quarterfinals, members of the team said they viewed the tournament as a learning experience.
The CSA Individual Championships occur annually and mark the conclusion of the season. As its name suggests, players compete as individuals representing Yale rather than as a team. Players are selected to participate based on team standings and on their individual records from the regular season.
“The team has done a great job training the past few weeks, so it was nice to see some good results,” Georgia Blatchford ’16 said. “It’s good to get some more matches in at the end of the season in order to see what we can build on going into the spring.”
The men’s team sent Sam Fenwick ’16 and T.J. Dembinski ’17 to compete for the Pool Trophy, awarded to the champion of the tournament’s top division. Fenwick and Dembinski were seeded 15th and 20th, respectively. Captain Joseph Roberts ’15, ranked No. 48, as well as Thomas Kingshott ’18 and Pierson Broadwater ’18, ranked Nos. 38 and 55, respectively, played for the Molloy Cup, the second division.
“Individual tournament was a totally different experience,” Broadwater said. “I got the sense that everybody there was exhausted, and that nobody was really playing their best squash. It’s a really long season, and it’s tough to keep a high level of intensity for such an extended period. Additionally, it’s totally different playing in a team atmosphere where you’re fighting for your team. In the individual tournament you’re just playing for yourself, and I found it harder to play my best.”
Just one week prior, the teams competed in the CSA Team Tournament, the most demanding weekend of the season due to the high stakes and the nature of playing three matches in three days.
Fenwick and Dembinski both lost in the first round of the tournament. However, Dembinski suffered an injury in his opening match and was unable to compete in the consolation bracket.
In the second division, Roberts was able to make it to the final eight, competing in the tournament’s quarterfinals. Broadwater and Kingshott both earned first-round victories as well.
“Next season started with this tournament,” Broadwater said. “For everybody who played, it was a good way to get a final opinion on what needs to be improved on in the spring, summer and fall going into the 2015–16 season. For those who didn’t play, it was still an important time to reflect on these things.”
The women’s team fielded five players in the top division, the Ramsay Cup. Jenny Scherl ’17, Shihui Mao ’15, Issey Norman-Ross ’15, Shiyuan Mao ’17 and Jennifer Davis ’18 entered the tournament ranked Nos. 14, 17, 20, 23 and 32, respectively.
Only Shihui Mao and Scherl were able to claim first-round victories, though both fell to tough opposition in the second round.
Madeline Tomlinson ’18, Annie Ballaine ’16, Selena Maity ’18, Jocelyn Lehman ’18 and Blatchford competed for the Holleran Cup, the second division.
Both Ballaine and Blatchford were able to make a statement by advancing to the quarterfinals of their division. Lehman and Maity both notched first-round victories, while Tomlinson was able to make it to the consolation bracket finals.
Despite the up-and-down results, players expressed optimism about next winter. On the men’s team, only two players will graduate — Roberts and Huw Robinson ’15 — and the current team has seven freshmen, two of whom competed this weekend. The women’s team will lose just four players, with eight of its 10 participants from the CSA Individual Championships returning.
“This group is excited to start work for next season after spring break,” men’s head coach Dave Talbott said. “This group has proven that they have the work ethic to take it to the next level.”