Two key members of the Princeton Ivy League championship squad reached their respective finals at the CSA national championships Sunday. While senior Todd Harrity's bid for a second national championship fell short, freshman Vivek Dinodia reminded fans of future potential with a dramatic win in the Molloy Cup final.
Harrity, the 2011 national champion, took on third-seeded Amr Khalifa of St. Lawrence. Khalifa, who once held a professional ranking of 50 according to the SquashInfo.com, began his career at St. Lawrence in January and had not lost a collegiate match. He was seeded third because he had never played either Harrity or second-seeded Ali Farag, the reigning champion from Harvard.
Khalifa defeated Farag in a five-game marathon Saturday night, and he built on that momentum by winning the final six points for an 11-4 win in the first. He took the second game 11-6, but Harrity dug deep and pushed Khalifa in a tough third. The Princeton co-captain led throughout much of the game, but Khalifa battled back to draw even at 10-10.
Harrity fought off one match ball at 11-10, but Khalifa won the next two to claim his first national title. It is the first individual national title won by a player from neither the Ivy League nor Trinity since 1989, when Scott Dulmage won from Western Ontario.
Regardless of his final result, Harrity leaves with one of the most decorated careers in Princeton squash history. He will be a four-time All-America and three-time CSA finalist, which included his undefeated run to the 2011 championship. He also led Princeton to two Ivy League championships, and he was undefeated during the memorable 2012 run to the CSA national team title.
While Princeton fans will be sad to see Harrity leave, they can feel good about the next three years with Dinodia. The freshman joined Vincent Yu (2005) as Princeton's only winners of the Molloy Cup, for players seeded outside of the Top 32. Dinodia had to work for it, rallying from a 2-1 deficit in the quarterfinals and winning 3-1 in the semifinals.
He played Brown No. 1 Blake Reinson in the final, and it would be a marathon. After splitting the first two games, Reinson took a 2-1 lead with a 13-11 win in the third. Dinodia drew even 12-10 in the fourth, and he clinched the match 13-11 in the final game.
Princeton also got a good result Sunday from sophomore Samuel Kang, who defeated Rochester's Faraz Khan to win the second-round consolation draw. Kang won in three games, including 13-11 in the final, and can build off his near-upset of Farag in the second round. Kang lost that match 3-1, taking the second game and getting to 9-9 in the fourth.