Nick Auerbach ’14
For the first time in 14 years the Trinity College Men’s Squash team lost a match to Yale University on Jan. 18, 2012. But after 13 straight National Team Championship titles the Bantams’ most important streak came to an abrupt end. This past Sunday at Princeton University, Trinity squash players were not hoisting up the College Squash Association (CSA) Potter Trophy. There weren’t any national champion hats being worn, no banners with the number “14” being waved around, names like Malhotra ‘12, Diaz ‘12, or Hergreth ‘13 weren’t being carved out on championship rings. There was no prancing around, joyous hugs, or tears of joy.
Why? It’s because on Feb. 19 the Trinity Bantams lost 5-4 to the Princeton Tigers in the championship match. After recuperating from their first defeat in 253 matches, reeling off 10 victories in a row, Trinity was handed its second loss of the season in the Nationals finale, finishing with an 18-2 overall record. Princeton won its’ eleventh national title and first since the 1993 season. Trinity beat Princeton 7-2 in the Bantams’ last regular season match. Following that loss, Princeton’s No. 7 Dylan Ward explained, “I think we came to Trinity lacking confidence in our own games and the Trinity players really capitalized on that and had a distinct advantage considering it was their home court. They could rely on the crowd to boost their confidence throughout all of the matches. Now that Trinity has lost once to Yale, I believe Trinity is still the team to beat now that we convincingly crushed Yale 8-1 on [Saturday, Feb. 4].” Princeton consistently played well all season and gave Trinity every reason to expect that Princeton would be the team they would face in the championship game. Ward even made a prediction that “Trinity and Princeton will meet in the finals, and considering that Nationals will be on our home court, I think it will be a much different result than the first time around.” Ward turned out to be right.
Trinity lost, but they played valiantly and no matter how it is spun they fought as hard as they could and everyone in the Trinity community truly appreciates that. Even though class act Head Coach Paul Assaiante said he has been waiting 14 years for this day and couldn’t imagine losing to a more gracious opponent than Princeton Head Coach Bob Callahan and his team, a bitter taste remains in the mouths of Trinity players and fans alike.
It’s hard to accept but the players should keep their heads up because next year provides the opportunity for redemption, and revenge. Bantams are bred to fight and next season, that’s what the Trinity Men’s Squash team will do. They’ll fight to the death and try to take back what’s rightfully been theirs for the last 13 years. Tigers are naturally dominant predators though they are said to have short stamina and wait until their prey is very close to them before attacking. It remains to be seen whether Princeton can match the “stamina” of Trinity’s squash team that won 252 consecutive victories and 13 straight championships, or even beat Trinity away from their home courts. Princeton deserves congratulations for their phenomenal play and deservedly stands on top, for now. However, Trinity hopes the Tigers don’t get their paws all over the Potter trophy because next year the Bantams would like it back, in pristine condition.