This weekend’s Collegiate Squash Association National Championship provided the ideal setting for the UR squash team to get some revenge. And the Yellowjackets didn’t fail to deliver, beating both Yale University and Harvard University to finish third in the nation.

Both Yale and Harvard have beaten the ‘Jackets earlier in the year.

‘I think the other teams had a feeling it was our time, considering our three 5-4 losses in the season,” head coach Martin Heath said.

On Saturday, UR came away with a 5-4 victory in a first-round matchup against Yale.
Freshman Matt Domenick clinched the win for the ‘Jackets, coming back after losing the first set to beat Yale’s Aaron Fuchs in five games.

In the fifth, Domenick was dominant, posting a resounding 9-0 win to finish the match and advance his team into the next round.

Fuchs had been playing at the No. 1 spot for Yale during most of the year, but dropped to No. 4 for the championships.

The next day, the Yellowjackets took on the Princeton University Tigers to determine who would advance to the finals. The Tigers proved to be too much for UR, winning 8-1.
Freshman Joe Chapman notched the ‘Jackets’ only point, earning a 9-6, 3-9, 9-7, 9-3 win over Princeton’s Kelly Shannon.

Sophomores Hameed Ahmed and Fred Reid turned in strong performances at the No. 3 and No. 5 spots, respectively, but fell just short in five-game losses.

Princeton has been ranked No. 2 according to the CSA poll for all of the 2008-09 season. On Sunday, the Tigers took on Trinity College which holds the longest win streak in the history of college sports in the championships and fell just short of knocking off the defending champs, losing, 4-5.

The ‘Jackets, meanwhile, went on to play Harvard in a battle for third place. UR was dominant in the matchup five ‘Jackets swept their opponents en route to a 7-2 UR victory. In December, the Yellowjackets lost to the Crimson, 4-5, in a matchup at Harvard, and UR was eager for some payback.

‘The kids learned from the losses, making themselves harder to beat rather than forcing the pressure in previous matches,” Heath said.

UR got wins in four of its top five positions Reid, Ahmed, Domenick and freshman Beni Fischer each posted convincing 3-0 victories.

The final Yellowjacket sweep came at the No. 8 spot, where freshman Adam Perkiomaki pulled out a tight first game, 9-7, going on to win his next two, 9-3, 9-0.

The ‘Jackets battled for wins in the No. 7 and No. 9 positions. It took both Chapman at No. 7 and junior Yohay Wakayabashi at No. 9 five games to eke out victories.
According to Heath, the win was a great finale for a very productive season.

‘The year was a resounding success,” Heath said. ‘We couldn’t have asked for anything better. We pushed the top two teams [in the nation] and beat former national champions.”

Last season, UR finished in 10th place at the national tournament. The difference this year has been an offseason of strong recruiting that has led to a much more solid Yellowjacket squad.

The season is not quite up for the ‘Jackets. UR will send eight players Fischer, Ahmed, Domenick, Reid, Chapman, Perkiomaki, sophomore Will Newnham and junior Jim Bristow to CSA Individual Championships in Williamston, Mass. this coming weekend.

Last season, Bristow who has played at the No. 1 position all of this year reached the quarterfinals of the championship bracket, while Reid made it into the semifinals of the consolation round.

Hilfinger is a member of the class of 2010.



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