From the Hartford Courant
HARTFORD — Trinity men’s squash coach Paul Assaiante doesn’t have much recent experience digesting losses. But when it happens, he was saying Wednesday night, you wish for a rematch the next day.
Trinity waited 370 days.
The Bantams defeated Yale 7-2 Wednesday, avenging a loss to the Bulldogs last year in New Haven. On Jan. 18, 2012, Yale famously ended the Bantams’ 252-match winning streak — thought to be the longest streak in the history of college sports — with a 5-4 victory.
“It wasn’t some great revenge thing,” Assaiante said. “We just wanted another chance to play that match.”
When Zeyad Elshorafy closed out his clinching match (11-6, 11-4, 11-2 over Yale’s Eric Caine) a few hundred fans roared in the packed Kellner Center. Trinity, ranked No. 2 in the most recent College Squash Association national poll, improved to 9-0 on the season and extended its home winning streak to 153, dating to the 1995-96 season.
Trinity’s streak of national championships also ended last season at 13 with a loss to Princeton, currently ranked No. 1, in the national final. The teams will meet Feb. 16 at Princeton.
“We’ve had this match circled, for sure,” said Trinity senior captain and No. 1 player Reinhold Hergeth, who defeated Yale’s Kenneth Chan, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9. “Losing the streak last year, and losing nationals, this was our real first test for this season. There’s no pressure this season, but a lot more motivation.”
No. 4 Yale fell to 7-1.
“They’re balanced and they dominated us pretty well,” Yale coach Dave Talbott said. “They’re not the dominant team at the top, but they’re solid all the way down. The difference between one and nine, there aren’t big gaps, and that will serve them well. Based on depth, they’re the team to beat this year.”
The most exciting moment of the night came from the women’s competition, featuring No. 4 Trinity and No. 3 Yale. The Bantams’ trailed 4-3 in the best-of-9, but sophomore Ashley Tidman evened it with a victory over Yale senior captain Katie Ballaine. In the final match, Kanzy El Defrawy defeated Yale’s Millie Tomlinson, 11-9, 8-11, 11-13, 11-3, 11-9.
“My heart was pounding through my chest, but I really just knew if we could get the match to 4-all, Kanzy would pull it out,” Trinity coach Wendy Bartlett said. “It’s a marathon. You can’t get edgy. We’ve been working on playing long points, length, and then attacking when we’ve got the set-up.”
Trinity’s women’s team is 10-1, its only loss coming to No. 5 Penn. Yale’s women, also coached by Talbott, are now 9-1.
The Bantam men led 2-1 after the first wave, with victories at No. 9 by Matthew Mackin and at No. 6 by Johan Detter. Yale’s Richard Dodd won at No. 3. In the second wave, Trinity’s Moustafa Hamada won at No. 8, Yale’s Sam Fenwich won at No. 5 and Trinity’s Juan Vargas won at No. 2. Trinity swept the third wave with victories by Hergeth at No. 1, Karan Malik at No. 4 and Elshorafy at No. 7.
The national championships are Feb. 15-17 at Yale.
“It was a game Yale team but we played very well at home,” Assaiante said. “But as I told the boys, we beat Princeton here last year 7-2, and we went down to Princeton and lost the national title. We’re going back to Yale, so we’ve got work to do. I want them to feel good about where we are at this moment, but we haven’t done anything yet.”