While some looked to add to an already successful season, others looked for a measure of vindication as the men's and women's squash teams competed this weekend at the United States Intercollegiate Squash and Racquets Association individual championships held at Amherst, Mass.
Two weeks removed from a national title, the women's contingent, headed by freshman Julia Beaver, the top seed in the 64-player draw, came away with mixed results in the season-ending tournament.
Beaver, who was undefeated on the season and the favorite to win the individual title, dropped a close semifinal match to eventual tournament champion Ivy Pachoda of Harvard, 3-2. Beaver, who had blanked Pachoda twice in team competition earlier in the season, rallied twice to tie the match at one and two. She then took a quick 5-0 lead in the decisive fifth game before losing, 9-6.
'A tough match'
"I was hoping to win (the tournament), but it was a tough match in the semifinals," Beaver said. "(Pachoda) played well, and I don't think I played poorly, but I didn't play as well as I would have liked to. I'm disappointed, but I realize that it doesn't detract from my season. Certainly one national championship was enough for me."
On the men's side, junior Amir Give'on, seeded fourth in the men's 64-player draw, also had a strong run before bowing out in the semis, losing to Harvard's No. 1 player, Daniel Ezra, 3-1.
Give'on, who went 4-1 on the weekend, indicated that fatigue played a factor towards the end of his fifth match of the weekend.
'Wanted a little bit more'
"I am a little bit disappointed because I really wanted a little bit more than that," Give'on said, "but I really did play great squash."
Joining Beaver in the women's draw were junior Elise O'Connell, senior Missy Wyant, sophomores Blair Irwin and Liz Kelly and freshman Meredith Quick.
O'Connell, seeded seventh, breezed through her opening three matches before losing to eventual tournament runner-up Jessica DiMauro of Penn, 3-1, in the quarterfinals.
Irwin, the No. 12 seed, advanced to the round of 16 before exiting the main draw. Irwin battled her way through the feed-in consolation draw Sunday to place ninth at the championships.
Women's coach Gail Ramsay indicated that on the whole she was pleased with the way her players performed on the weekend.
She said that although the team did not come away with an individual championship, there were some very promising individual performances. Ramsay noted Quick's battle through her consolation draw against the best competition she has faced all season to take 12th place and Kelly's domination of her consolation draw after dropping her first round match against a top-eight player.
For the men, Amherst struck again. A week after the Lord Jeffs upset the Tigers in the first round of the team championships at Princeton, Amherst's No. 1 David McNeely ended the seasons of both sophomore Peter Yik and senior Ben Fishman.
First, Fishman, the No. 12 seed, dropped out in the round of 16, and then the previously undefeated and fifth-seeded Yik fell in the quarterfinals, 3-1.
Yik, who has struggled with injury throughout the season, had defeated McNeely in all six of their previous matches. Yet this weekend he cramped up at the end of the third game, which he led, 12-10. Although McNeely was visibly exhausted and Yik was close to taking a 2-1 lead, Yik could never recover from the cramps.
"My body didn't hold out," Yik said. "I cramped up. The fourth game was really just a show, just not to default."