Irene Jiang

One week after the Yale men’s squash team secured its first national title in 26 years, representatives from both Eli teams put up strong performances in the College Squash Association Individual Tournament, which marked the conclusion of Yale’s 2015–16 season.

The women sent four players to the tournament, hosted at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, while the men dispatched six. With two players from each team claiming second-team All-American finishes, the results demonstrate a marked improvement from last season, when no Bulldogs were able to make it past the semifinals of their respective draws.

“As a whole we did much better this year at individuals than we have done in the past, with two male [first-team] All-Americans and two female,” Jenny Scherl ’17 said. “This tournament is much different than regular season play as you don’t play for your school, you play for yourself and personal accolades … There is a sense of camaraderie among all of the athletes from every school at a tournament like this, as opposed to other events throughout the season.”

No. 11 Scherl and No. 15 Celine Yeap ’19 represented the Yale women’s team in the top-ranked Ramsay Division, while No. 50 Selena Maity ’18 competed in the Holleran (B) and No. 22 Shiyuan Mao ’17 in the Holleran (C). Though both Scherl and Yeap lost in the first rounds of their draws, they earned second-team All-American status by virtue of finishing among the top 20 players in the nation.

In the first round Yeap fell to her No. 6 Anaka Alankamony of Penn in three games, while Scherl lasted four games against No. 3 Reeham Sedky, also of Penn. The pair of losses set up a consolation matchup between the two teammates, in which Scherl bested Yeap 13–11, 11–8, 5–11 and 11–7. Scherl then moved on to the consolation semifinals, where she lost in a tight five-game match against No. 14 Marie Stephen, another Quaker.

After losing in the first round to No. 47 Samantha Chai of Princeton, Maity made it to the finals of her consolation bracket, but fell in three games to No. 74 Isabel Hirshberg, also of Princeton. In 2014, Mao, then a freshman, won the Holleran Division, which at the time was the only division other than the Ramsay. This year, however, Mao fell in four games in the semifinals.

In the men’s tournaments, No. 17 Kah Wah Cheong ’17 competed as the top-seeded player in the Malloy (A) division and was able to win the tournament, thereby securing a spot on the All-American second team. Joining him on the first-team is No. 13 TJ Dembinski ’17, who competed as the only American player in the top-ranked Pool Division, whose participation guarantees an All-American title.

“The tournament was enjoyable as most of the pressure was off,” said Cheong, whose victory against Rochester last weekend clinched the national title for the Bulldogs. “Having won the national championships, I was able to play very confidently and managed to reproduce the standard of squash that I have.”

No. 26 Zac Leman ’16 and No. 23 Sam Fenwick ’16, the team captain, made it to the quarter- and semifinals of the Malloy (B) Division, respectively, while No. 51 Pierson Broadwater ’18 and No. 67 Arjun Kochhar ’18 played in the Malloy (C). After losing in their first matches of the tournament, Kochhar and Broadwater battled in the consolation semifinals, a match that Broadwater won in four games en route to his consolation bracket victory.

“[Playing Kochhar] was a lot of fun, actually,” said Broadwater. “We’ve played each other so much that we basically have each others’ games memorized. It was a nice change of pace to go out and have a fun match with no pressure.”

Head coach Dave Talbott noted that the Bulldogs only had one player in the top 16, demonstrating that depth was the “hallmark” of the national champions. By comparison, Rochester, which fell to the Bulldogs in the national finals, sent three players to the Pool Division.