In their final team matches for Princeton University, senior co-captains Dylan Ward and Ash Egan both picked up crucial wins to lead the Tigers to a 5-4 victory over Columbia Sunday afternoon in the final match of the Hoehn Cup competition.The win came without the services of junior All-America Tyler Osborne, who suffered an injury Saturday against Dartmouth and was unable to play against Columbia in the 'B' flight final of the CSA National Team Championships. That left other players to step up at spots higher than their expected spot, and head coach Sean Wilkinson was pleased to see the results.
One of the biggest victories came early, as sophomore Sam Ezratty overcame a 2-1 deficit at the No. 6 spot to defeat Jonathan Gill 11-5 and 11-8 in the final two games for a win. Columbia took the other two matches in the opening shift, including a 3-2 thriller at the No. 3 spot, but Ezratty's win left a manageable deficit for the second shift.
And the second shift took care of business. Sophomore Michael LeBlanc opened it with a 3-0 win over Danial Saleem at the No. 5 spot, and freshman Ben Leizman fought for wins of 12-10 and 11-8 in the final two games for a 3-1 win at the No. 8 position.
At that point, Princeton led 3-2, but Columbia still had a former individual finalist left to take the court at the No. 1 spot. Thus, the Hoehn Cup was basically up for grabs over the final three matches, and Wilkinson was able to rely on his seniors to bring it home.
Ward, whose career included two clinching wins over Harvard to lead Princeton to the 2012 and 2013 Ivy League titles, as well as a key late win in the 2012 national championship win over Trinity, won his final three games over Rishi Tandon for a 3-1 victory at the No. 2 spot. Egan won two comfortable games at the seventh spot, but he was pushed deep into the third by Alex Goldberg.
Egan, whose win at Harvard in 2012 was another key victory in that Ivy League championship season, would not be denied. He pulled out a 12-10 win to assure Princeton the victory.
Prior to the match, Princeton was presented with the Sloane Award, which has been awarded annually since 1981 to honor team sportsmanship. The Tigers have won this award in two of the last three years.
Princeton will be off next weekend, and then selected individuals will head to Philadelphia for the individual national championships (Feb. 28-March 2).
PRINCETON 5, COLUMBIA 4
1 - Ramit Tandon (C) d. Samuel Kang 5,3,3
2 - Dylan Ward (P) d. Rishi Tandon (11),8,6,9
3 - Mohamed Abdel Maksoud (C) d. David Hoffman (12),7,11,(9),8
4 - Joshua Sekhar (C) d. Taylor Tutrone 7,7,4
5 - Michael LeBlanc (P) d. Danial Saleem 8,9,6
6 - Sam Ezratty (P) d. Jonathan Gill 9,(6),(5),5,8
7 - Ash Egan (P) d. Alec Goldberg 3,3,10
8 - Ben Leizman (P) d. Tarun Nambiar 8,(7),10,8
9 - Alex Nalie (C) d. Michael East 2,18,6