Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Trinity College destroys Yale in emotional squash match




The Trinity College Men’s Squash team made a statement this past week with two impressive wins against key opponents. Before sneaking by No. 5 ranked Rochester University with a 5-4 win, Trinity mashed their biggest rival, the No. 4 ranked Yale Bulldogs, 7-2. The win not only pushed the undefeated Bantams to 11 wins but also meant they could avenge their loss to Yale from last year, which ended their record 13 year long, 252 game winning streak.

Players, coaches, and fans all appreciated the magnitude of the match. It was especially meaningful for Senior Co-Captain Reinhold Hergeth ’13. “It was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my life to play that well in front of the hundreds of people that felt the pain of losing a year ago. It was more than beating Yale, it was for all the people that supported us throughout the year even though we couldn’t bring home the national title.” Hergeth,  who felt he was the underdog in his individual match, defeated Yale’s No. 1 player Kenneth Chan fairly handedly 3-0 in games.

The Kellner Center was packed in tight, and a sea of students were in attendance to watch fan-favorite Matt Mackin ’14 play.The crowd at the Yale match was the biggest Mackin had ever seen since he has been a member of the team. According to Mackin, Coach Assaiante generally tells his players (especially for high-intensity, difficult matches like the one against Yale) to play without emotion. The advice is simple and succinct but keeping an even-keeled temper is likely the most challenging part of a squash player’s game. It’s important to maintain a certain kind of rhythm on the court. If not, everything else can unravel. Footwork, racquet swing, and strategy could all go out the window if the player’s emotions get in the way of focusing on a single point. Mackin, who said his individual strategy against Pehlaaj Bajwa ’16 was “to contain the ball on the left wall and generate openings to attack and play the ball to the front, ” won 3-0 in games. Exposing his opponent’s weaker backhand, Mackin was able to successfully push Bajwa to the back wall, opening up ample opportunities to drill a myriad of artful drop shots in the front corners. 

Overall, the Bantams executed their shots with perfection but Freshman Juan Vargas ’16  added some flair in his match. He stunned the crowd with a ridiculous between-the-legs shot, after which the fans gave out a collective “Ohhh!” Seeing Vargas play reminded spectators of his older brother Andres, who played for Trinity’s last championship team in 2011. Others like Senior Co-Captain Johan Detter ’13,  Miled Zarazua ’15, and Zeyad Elshorafy ’16 continue to improve their repertoire of shots, showing why Trinity remains a favorite to capture their 14th national championship. Still, Coach Assaiante wants his players to stay the course, reminding them that “last season, we defeated Princeton 7-2 at home last year and then lost to them on their courts, 5-4, in the National Finals. This year, the Nationals are at Yale.” Hopefully that won’t become a pattern but for now Trinity can enjoy sweet, sweet revenge.

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