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Men's Squash Bids For Upset, But Falls Just Short In 5-4 Thriller To Yale

By: Princeton Athletic Communications
          Release: 02/02/2014
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Dylan Ward has won three straight matches, including victories over No. 1 Trinity and No. 3 Yale.
Courtesy: Beverly Schaefer
Princeton may have left the Jadwin Squash Courts disappointed Sunday afternoon, but the Tigers also made a clear statement to the rest of the nation that they weren’t going anywhere. The Tigers nearly pulled off a massive upset against the third-ranked Yale Bulldogs, but the final game of the final shift went the way of the road team in a 5-4 win.

A showdown of senior captains decided the Super Sunday matchup, and after two games, it looked good for Yale’s Eric Caine. Princeton senior Ash Egan, whose 2012 win at Harvard was a pivotal part of that Ivy League championship season, battled back with wins of 11-4 and 11-8 to force a fifth game.

With all eyes on Court 3, the two locked in a tight game that went back-and-forth until Caine made a late run to grab a 10-6 lead. Egan, whose resilience couldn’t be questioned considering his battle with injuries simply to get back on the court, won the next two points to get within two. Caine finished with it with a cross-court laser to finish the win and keep Yale unbeaten in Ivy play.

“I am so very proud of the guys,” head coach Sean Wilkinson said. “We are definitely trending upwards. We still have a lot to play for, so we need to remain focused over these next few weeks. But the guys have responded wonderfully following Penn, and I have been thrilled with their effort over these last three matches.”

That stretch began with Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the top-ranked Trinity Bantams, and included Saturday’s sweep of Brown. The first session was nearly a perfect one for Princeton, as senior co-captain Dylan Ward opened the match with a 3-1 win at the No. 3 spot.

Freshman Michael East posted easily the biggest win of his young career, using a 13-11 win in the second game to help score a 3-1 win at the No. 9 spot. Yale was able to keep pace, though, as Liam McClintock held off Princeton sophomore Michael LeBlanc 11-8 in the fifth for a 3-2 win at the No. 6 spot.

Yale evened the team score in the second shift, though Princeton grabbed the first win. Junior Tyler Osborne continued his brilliant week, dropping only eight points in a 3-0 win at the No. 2 spot. Yale’s Kah Wah Cheong was also impressive at No. 5, defeating Taylor Tutrone at the No. 5 spot.

Princeton freshman Ben Leizman found himself down 2-1 at the No. 8 spot, but he came back with an 11-4 win in the fourth. Yale junior Joseph Roberts pulled out an 11-8 win in the fifth, but Leizman (like East) earned experience that will greatly benefit him over the next three seasons.

The final shift quickly went 4-4, as Princeton senior Samuel Kang was in control of a 3-0 win at the No. 1 spot; at the same time, Yale’s Thomas Dembinski won 3-0 at the No. 4 spot. That left it to the No. 7 spot, which turned into a thrilling duel in a rivalry that has been built on many of these types of matches.

Princeton has one more week of regular season play, starting Friday night in New York City against Columbia. The Tigers will honor their seniors next Sunday at noon when they take on Cornell.

1 – Samuel Kang (P) d. Neil Martin 7,5,5
2 – Tyler Osborne (P) d. Sam Fenwick 6,1,1
3 – Dylan Ward (P) d. Zachary Leman 6,7,(9),9
4 – Thomas Dembinski (Y) d. David Hoffman 6,6,3
5 – Kah Wah Cheong (Y) d. Taylor Tutrone 6,6,3
6 – Liam McClintock (Y) d. Michael LeBlanc (6),6,(6),5,8
7 – Eric Caine (Y) d. Ash Egan 4,4,(4),(8),8
8 – Joseph Roberts (Y) d. Ben Leizman (8),10,(9),4,8
9 – Michael East (P) d. Pehlaaj Bajwa 6,11,(5),6







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