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Five Tigers Remain In Hunt For CSA National Title

By: Princeton Athletic Communications
          Release: 03/02/2012
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Samuel Kang rallied from an 0-2 deficit to advance in the CSA national championships.
Courtesy: Beverly Schaefer

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Five Princeton players, including reigning men's champion Todd Harrity and women's No. 1 Julie Cerullo, made it through the first two rounds of the 2012 CSA individual national championships. The Tigers are guaranteed to have at least one semifinalist, as there is an all-Princeton quarterfinal in the men's draw.

On the men's side, Harrity joins senior Kelly Shannon and freshman Samuel Kang in the quarterfinals. Harrity, looking for his second straight national title, cruised in the opening round against F&M's Mauricio Sedano (3,5,1), but he was pushed in the second round by a familiar face. Freshman teammate Tyler Osborne, who thrived at the No. 3 position for Princeton and had one of the most critical wins in the national championship winner over Trinity, pushed Harrity hard in an 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7 loss. Osborne became the first player to take a game off Harrity in the national championships since the 2010 final.

Harrity will now face teammate Shannon, whose 3-0 win at No. 4 clinched the national title over Trinity. Shannon, who knocked off four Top-10 players in the 2011 nationals, was back to his old tricks Sunday. He defeated last year's national finalist, Cornell's Nick Sachvie, in three games. He followed with a win over Rochester No. 1 Benjamin Fischer in four games, including a 12-10 win in the fourth.

The winner of the match will likely face Columbia No. 1 Ramit Tandon, who topped Harrity in the regular season finale.

The top half of the draw features a trio of expected quarterfinalists ... and Kang. The Tiger freshman, who played No. 5 for the national champions this season, rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Dartmouth No. 1 Chris Hanson in five games. After a 13-11 win in the third, the tireless Kang took control and won 11-6 and 11-4. Kang followed with another strong effort against Yale No. 3 Richard Dodd, surviving a tough first game and then finishing with wins of 11-1 and 11-6.

He will play Trinity No. 1 Vikram Malhotra, the tournament's fourth seed, in the quarterfinal round. The winner will likely face top-seeded Ali Farag of Harvard, who won a pair of 3-0 matches Friday.

On the women's side of the draw, both Cerullo and sophomore teammate Libby Eyre will be looking for a place in the semifinals. Cerullo, who reached the semifinal last year, had a very efficient first day of the championships, being held in Amherst. She scored a 3-1 win over Trinity's Jennifer Pelletier in the opener, and then cruised to a 3-0 win over Penn's Nabilla Ariffin.

Cerullo likely expected a quarterfinal date with Trinity's Catalina Pelaez, who topped Cerullo in a five-game thriller last weekend. Instead, Cerullo will face Harvard's Cecelia Cortes, who upset Pelaez in four games.

The winner of that match will play the winner of the quarterfinal between top-seeded Amanda Sobhy and Eyre, who held off Penn's Rachael Goh 11-9 in the fifth game to win the second-round match. Eyre was dominant in her opener, dropping only 12 points in a 3-0 win over Dartmouth's Corey Schafer.

The odds will be heavily against Eyre, as Sobhy didn't drop more than three points in any individual game Friday. Sobhy, the first U.S. player to ever win the Junior World Championship, came into Harvard ranked No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 20 in the Women’s International Squash Players Association. It will be a chance for Eyre to test her game against the clear favorite in the women's draw.

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