Squash teams return boasting champions

Men’s and women’s squash each walked away from individual championships this weekend at Princeton with a champion, as Max Montgelas ’03 repeated as Malloy champion and Andrea Berberian ’05 won the women’s flight-two consolation round. Both players managed tight five game wins in the final matches and suffered through an arduous weekend where they each had to play several matches in one day. Overall, it was a successful weekend for Williams squash, as players on both teams supplemented the performances of Montgelas and Berberian with their own strong play.

Seeded number two in the Malloy division, consisting of the 33rd through 64th players, Montgelas rolled through the first two rounds with an easy three game win over Simon Bradbury of MIT and then a four game win over Timothy Shea from Vassar. On Saturday morning, Montgelas faced off against Darmouth’s James Judah. In a tightly contested fight, Montgelas fell behind Judah 2-1, but rallied back to post 9-6 and 9-5 in the final two games to win the match 3-2.

In the semifinals that afternoon, Montgelas anticipated another tough match against Yale first-year Gavin Cumberbatch. Instead, in what Montgelas and Head Coach Dave Johnson said was his best squash ever, Montgelas destroyed Cumberbatch 3-0 and only allowed him to win six points overall.

In Sunday’s final, Montgelas faced Brown’s Austin Clark, whom Montgelas had beaten earlier in a tough four game match. Montgelas jumped out to an early 2-0 lead by winning the first two games in extra points, 10-8. Clark, though, clawed back into the match by winning the next two games to force a deciding fifth game. Physically exhausted and without the momentum, Montgelas came through with a clutch performance in the fifth, winning 9-6 to repeat as Malloy champion.

“I was confident I could do it,” said Montgelas. “Five matches in three days; it is a blow to your body. You have to have the desire to get through it, but I was confident I could get it done.”

In a three day span, Berberian played six matches, winning five of them and losing the sixth one in five games.

Berberian followed a 3-2 first round victory with another five gamer, this time against Wendy Huang, who was seeded sixth in the draw. Berberian hung tough and forced a fifth game by wining the fourth game in extra points 10-8, but, drained from a full day of squash, Berberian dropped the last game 9-2 to lose 3-2.

Put into the consolation draw for the Saturday matches, Berberian rolled over her first opponent, Katie Irving, in three games. In the quarterfinal match later that day, Berberian played another five-frame match against Ali Roche. After dropping the first two games, Berberian stormed back, winning the next two games 9-1 to tie the match. In the final game, Berberian came through, winning 9-7 to advance.

Despite dropping the first game of her semifinal match, Berberian won the next three games by wide margins and advanced to the finals with a 3-1 victory. In the finals, Berberian faced Kate Esselen, who was initially seeded fourth. Berberian took a 2-1 lead by winning close games 10-9 and 9-7. However, she dropped the fourth round 4-9, which sent the championship to a final game. In another close game, a now battle-tested Berberian again proved to be too much, winning the game 9-7 and clinching the championship.

While Berberian and Montgelas provided the biggest highlights, other players came away from the weekend proud with their performance. On the men’s side, number one Parth Doshi ’03 lost a closely fought five-game match against Trinity’s Rohan Bhapphu in the first round. Doshi then beat Franklin and Marshall’s Gaurav Juneja in five, rallying back from a 2-0 deficit and beat Harvard’s Dylan Patterson in five, before dropping a tough five-game match to Cornell’s Tim Nagel.

Co-captain Win Tangjaitrong ’02, playing in his final matches at Williams, crushed Pat Malloy in the first round and lost to defending champion David Yik of Princeton. In the consolations, Tangjaitrong beat Yale’s number three player, Peter Grote, before dropping a tough four-game match to Harvard’s Michael Blumberg.

In the Malloy Draw, Ross Koller ’04 dropped his first match against Yale’s A.J McCrery, and then beat Alex Nagy in three games in the consolation before losing a four-game match to Darryl Chow.

On the women’s side, number one Adrienne Ellman ’03 rolled over Emily Eyron in the first round and then lost to Louisa Hall, the top American player in the draw, in three games. On Saturday, Ellman beat Lauren Doline in four games before being eliminated by Carlin Wing in three. Ellman’s weekend placed her in the top 15 players in the country, and secured her place as an All-American.

Clare Whipple ’05, given the unfortunate 32nd seed, had to play eventual champion and number one seed Amina Helal in the first round and lost in straight games.

In another case of poor seeding, Whipple then had to play teammate Selma Kikic ’02. In the battle of Williams players, Whipple beat Kikic in a three game match and then lost to Yale’s Devon Dalzell. With her performance, Whipple secured her spot among the top 24 players in the country.

In the B draw, Neal put in an impressive performance as well. She defeated Emily Morris in a quick three-game match before losing a tight five-game match to second seed Crosby Haynes. In the consolations, Kate Neal ’04 defeated Kristen Brush and Sarah Herrup in three before falling in five to Esselen.

The women’s team also picked up two awards this weekend, helping to cement one of their best seasons ever. As a team, Williams received the Chaffee Award, named after legendary Williams tennis and squash coach Charles Chaffee.

Individually, Kikic won the Wetzel Award, which is annually given to the best senior women’s player who had not played before college. Kikic was a vital member of this year’s squad, serving as co-captain and playing the number two position, and there was little doubt that she deserved the award. The award has extra meaning because current coach Julie Greenwood also won the award during her time at Williams.

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