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Hard Work Pays Off At Squash Nationals

By Carol Matsuzaki
Team Member

Andrew Downer '96 and Carol Matsuzaki '96, along with Coach Mark Johnson, traveled to Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. this past weekend to compete at the National Intercollegiate Squash Championships.

The top 64 men and top 64 women collegiate players from the country were present at the tournament to battle it out. Both players had worked hard in the preceding weeks to prepare for this tournament under Coaches Johnson, Jim Taylor '63, and Jeff Hamilton.

In his first round match, Downer drew the number one player from Tufts University, Drew Phelps. Downer started off to a nervous start as Phelps edged him out to win the first game 1510. However, in the second and third games, Downer shook the nerves and started to play his game, characterized by his amazing quickness and unpredictability and won the games decisively, 155, 155. Phelps tried to come back somewhat in the fourth game, but Downer kept the momentum going and won it 1510 to win the match, advancing to the round of 32.

Downer's next opponent in the draw was Joel Kirsch, the number one player from top ranked Harvard University. Kirsch, the Israeli National Champion, was arguably the best player in the draw. Downer was never in the match as Kirsch simply outmatched him to a 158, 155, 158 win.

In the feed-in consolation, Downer unfortunately had a cruel draw and faced Princeton University's number three player, Ben Fishman, a second team All-America selection last year. The first two games were extremely close, as Fishman barely won 1510, 1513. However, the third game was a runaway for Fishman, with Downer scoring only three points.

Matsuzaki's first round match turned out to be quite exciting. She and her opponent from Williams College, Katie Genung, seesawed back and forth in the first game. But Genung came out on top, 96, because of too many unforced errors from Matsuzaki.

Matsuzaki tried to regroup in the second game, but she took a 91 loss. Genung was taken by surprise as Matsuzaki won the third and fourth games 94, 97.

In the fifth and deciding game, Genung ran out of steam. Matsuzaki won 91 to take the match 32, and advanced to the round of 32.

Matsuzaki's next opponent was the number three from Harvard, Brooke Herlihy. Herlihy simply dominated the match by taking control of the points, en route to an easy 91, 91, 92 straight game win.

In the feed-in consolation, Matsuzaki was also unfortunate in drawing the number one player from Brown, Devon Kennedy. Matsuzaki was no match for Kennedy - ranked in the top eight in the country - who quickly advanced with a 90, 91, 93 win.