Hartford, CT — Last Wednesday saw one of the season’s most highly anticipated matches: the rematch of the 2010 Potter Cup final between Trinity and Yale.
Even though Trinity wasn’t back in session, the Kellner Squash Center was almost full. Families, some students, and squash fans from around the region came to Hartford see two top matches: the number 1 Trinity men versus number 2 Yale, and the number 2 Yale women versus number 3 Trinity.
The Yale men came out ready to make history, and the first round of matches was intense. Since the teams were playing on a three-court system, the number 3 match — Yale’s Richard Dodd and Trinity’s Andres Vargas — was the first to be played on the exhibition court. Dodd and Vargas played a game of attrition, trading seemingly endless rallies back and forth. Vargas took the first game 11-9, and Dodd came back to take the second 14-12. Vargas pulled away in the third 11-6, but Dodd pushed back in the fourth, taking the game to extra points and falling just short of forcing a fifth game.
By the time the men’s number 3 match ended, the first two women’s matches on the other exhibition court were over. The Bantams’ Wee Nee Low came out strong in her intercollegiate debut, winning her first game against Yale first-year player Millie Tomlinson. But Tomlinson came back to win the next three games, including a 14-12 third game. Trinity’s Pamela Hathway answered Tomilson’s win by taking the number 2 match with a four-game victory over Sarah Toomey. Trinity’s Catalina Pelaez dominated the first game of the number 1 match against Logan Greer. Greer fought back and came close in the third, falling to Pelaez 9-11. Pelaez, a first-year player, remains undefeated at number 1 for the Bantams.
The Trinity women may have won the top two matches, but Yale came out ahead in the overall score, solidifying their number 2 ranking with a 6-3 win. The Bulldogs will wait until the final match of the regular season to take on the top team, Harvard, who are scheduled to play Trinity on Wednesday, January 26. The Crimson have yet to drop an individual match this season, winning their first six matches 9-0.
The Trinity and Yale men played on long after the women’s match had ended. There were flashes of hope for the Bulldogs. Robert Berner won in four at number 9, and John Roberts and Ryan Dowd took their matches to five games, with Roberts winning at number 8. Kenny Chan won a close first game against Parth Sharma at number 2, but Sharma came back to win the next three, pulling away in the final game 11-7.
While Yale put forth a game effort, Trinity wasn’t about to let the Bulldogs end their winning streak at home. The Bantams answered the Bulldogs’ challenge emphatically, winning the top seven matches.
A few days later, Yale beat number 4 Rochester 7-2, playing in New Haven. The Bulldogs will host number 3 Princeton on the 29th, and the Tigers will host Trinity on February 13th.
Unless Princeton can play the spoiler, the Trinity and Yale men will enter the Men’s National Team Championships as the top two seeds and could next meet in the 2011 Potter Cup finals. The Yale and Trinity women will end up on the same side of the “A” Division bracket if there are no changes to the rankings, which means one team may have to go through the other to get to the Howe Cup finals.
A lot can happen between now and championships, but it looks like these squads haven’t seen the last of each other.
For additional photos from the Yale – Trinity match, please visit mtbello.com.