Stamford, CT — Kanzy El Defrawy of Trinity defeated Reeham Sedky of Penn 3-1 to win the Ramsay Cup and the 2016 Women’s Individual Championship.
El Defrawy had reached the final in each of her four years at Trinity, but the Ramsay Cup had eluded her in her first three tries, as she lost to Harvard’s Amanda Sobhy in the final year after year. An individual title was the only absence in an otherwise sterling collegiate resume. El Defrawy is a three-time First Team All-American, a four-time New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Player of the Year, and the 2012-2013 NESCAC Rookie of the Year. A senior co-captain, she has played atop the Trinity ladder throughout her career, including during the Bantams’ run to the national team title in 2014.
On Saturday at a gala for past champions, she was named the 2016 Richey Award winner. The Richey Award, which is voted on by CSA players and coaches, is given annually to a women’s college squash player who best exemplifies the ideals of squash in her love of and devotion to the game, her strong sense of fairness, and her excellence of play and leadership. It is the highest individual honor in women’s college squash.
As a first-year player, Sedky has had less time to accumulate collegiate accolades. However, she brings an impressive junior resume to college squash. She was a member of the US Junior Worlds teams in 2013, 2014, and 2015. In addition, she captured the 2015 U19 U.S. Nationals Squash Tournament.
To reach the finals,neither player surrendered a game. Sedky defeated Celine Yeap (Yale), teammate Anaka Alankamony in the quarterfinal, and Laila Samy (Wesleyan) in the semifinal. El Defrawy opened with a victory over Hayley Hughes (Drexel), defated Yan Xin Tan (Penn) in the quarterfinal, and Kayley Leonard (Harvard) in the semifinal.
In January, El Defrawy and Sedky met as Penn visited Trinity. The pair represented their respective schools at the #1 position. Sedky won the first game, 11-9, while El Defrawy won the second game, 11-9. Due to an injury to Sedky, the match concluded after two games. Today’s match appeared wide open.
Sedky built up a lead in the first game, but El Defrawy battled back to tie the game at 11-all. A no-let call put Sedky at game ball. El Defrawy dove to recover a shot, but it wasn’t enough. Sedky won the first game 13-11.
In the second game, Sedky again built up a small lead. El Defrawy tied the score at 5-all, then broke a string. After two no-let calls in a row, Sedky led 7-5. El Defrawy hit the nick to tie the game 7-all. She won the next four points, unanswered, and dove on a long point to win the game 11-7, tying the game score at 1-all.
El Defrawy opened with an ace on her serve and went out to a 4-0 lead. Sedky tinned a shot and then another for El Defrawy to go up 6-0. El Defrawy tinned a shot of her own for Sedky to finally get on the board at 1-6. El Defrawy powered ahead to win the game 11-3. She was within a game of the national title.
In game four, El Defrawy went out to a 3-0 lead thanks, in part, to stokes. Sedky wasn’t about to let El Defrawy get away. She closed the gap to 3-4, forcing El Defrawy to dive and miss a shot. A stroke to El Defrawy brought the score to 5-3 for the Trinity senior, who broke another string and had to hunt for another racquet, having gone through her spares. She was able to borrow one from a teammate, albeit a frame from a different maker than the one she had been using. El Defrawy went out to a 8-4 lead, tinning once as she adjusted to the new racquet. At 8-4 the players collided violently, sending them both the ground. The referee came onto the court, talking to Sedky. A stroke to Sedky in the next point brought the score to 5-8. More strokes brought the score to 9-6 for El Defrawy. A tin from Sedky brought El Defrawy to match ball. The next point was El Defrawy’s, and with the 11-7 win in the fourth, she was the 2016 individual champion!
At Trinity, El Defrawy is coached by Wendy Bartlett. She is the first Trinity player to win the Ramsay Cup since Nour Bahgat won in 2009.