The Men’s College Team Nationals fielded semifinals in eight divisions on Saturday, setting up an exciting slate of finals matchups for Sunday.
In front of a packed home crowd, top-seed Trinity faced a St. Lawrence team which looked to be playing its strongest squash of the season so far. Though it looked in doubt at points through the match, the Bantams found a way to maintain their undefeated season with a 5-4 win.
St. Lawrence started off strong in the first round, with four-game wins by No. 6 Belal Nawar and No. 3 Moustafa Bayoumy putting the Saints on the board. Trinity’s James Evans won in three games to bring the overall score to 2-1 for St. Lawrence. That total was pushed to 3-2 as the teams split the No. 2 and 8 matches, but one of the key turning points of the day occurred at No. 5 between Trinity’s Tom De Mulder and Lenard Puski of St. Lawrence. Puski took the second and third games 11-9 and 12-10 to grab the lead but De Mulder shocked Puski 11-0 in the fourth before grinding out a 11-8 win in the fifth, bringing the overall total to 3-3. Meanwhile, Trinity No. 7 Omar Allaudin dominated the fourth and fifth games to complete a comeback at No.7 to bring the Bantams to within one match of the final. Kush Kumar captured that match at No. 1 in three games—including a dominant 11-0 second—and put Trinity in the final where it will defend the 2017 Potter Cup title.
Trinity will face No. 3 seed Harvard, who overcame a 5-4 regular season loss to No. 2 Columbia by winning the semifinal 6-3. Harvard set the tone early, winning all first round matches in three games. This set up the opportunity for Harvard to close out the match by winning two of the 2, 5 or 8 positions. At No. 5, Harvard’s Sam Scherl controlled play against Arhum Saleem to take the match in three games, and Harvard No. 8 Julien Gosset closed out the overall match in four games against Krish Kapur. Columbia took two matches in the final round—including a 3-1 win by defending college individual champion Osama Khalifa over Saadeldin Abouaish.
The Harvard-Trinity final will be a rematch of the 2017 contest, where Trinity won 5-4 in a dramatic match on Harvard’s courts.
Top seeds Yale and George Washington each put in sharp performances to advance to the Hoehn Cup final. Yale faced Brown, which was coming off an upset win over fourth seeded Drexel on Friday. Brown had a chance to build momentum in the first round after Blake Gilbert-Bono defeated Thomas Kingshott in five games at No. 6, but Yale’s Max Martin put his team up 2-1 overall with a five-gamer of his own over Andrew Wei at No. 6. Yale then swept the second and third round matches to take the overall result 8-1.
Two seed George Washington made efficient work of a talented Western Ontario team, winning 9-0. Looking to the final, the Colonials will aim to upend their regular season result against Yale, which they lost 7-2 but were on the losing end of several five game matches that could have swung the other way.
Summers Cup top seed Dickinson earned a position in the final by overcoming Middlebury 6-3. The result hinged on tight matches in the bottom three positions, and Dickinson was able to win each, highlighted by a comeback from 2-0 down by Tanay Murdia over Thomas Wolpow.
No. 3 seed Franklin & Marshall reversed a 7-2 regular season loss to Bates by defeating the Bobcats 5-4 in the second Summers Cup semifinal. Bates captured two of the first round matches, but F&M came roaring back as it won all second round matches to take a 4-2 overall lead. F&M No. 1 Sanjay Jeeva then iced the win for the Diplomats with a 3-0 over Mahmoud Yousry.
Top seeds Hobart and Bowdoin will contest the Conroy Cup final on Sunday. Hobart relied on strength at the top of the lineup as it captured positions 1-6 on the way to a 6-3 victory. Bowdoin defeated a Haverford team riding momentum from a Friday upset over No. 3 seed Hamilton, however, the Bears entered the final round of matches up 4-2, and captured three tight matches in the final set to round out the victory 7-2.
Hobart narrowly defeated Bowdoin 5-4 in their regular season match in early December.
A first-time Chaffee Cup champion will be crowned on Sunday, as Fordham and NYU advanced through their respective semifinals. Fordham lost only the top position—an 11-9 in the fifth win for Denison’s Sherief Shahin over William Pantle—but had to compete hard to capitalize lower in the lineup with five game wins in the first round of matches by No. 3 Henry Rosenberg and No. 6 Michael Ferrick.
The Fordham team will face NYU, whom they narrowly beat 5-4 in their last meeting on January 21. NYU upset No. 2 seed Bucknell in the semifinal, a seesaw match that saw Bucknell grab two of three matches in the first round, then NYU do the same in the second and third rounds of matches.
Northwestern defended its top seeding in the Serues Cup by advancing past Duke 6-3. Northwestern’s Anthony Bergren-Salinas thwarted a comeback attempt by Duke’s Alexander Newhouse, winning 11-9 in the fifth game at the No. 1 position.
Northwestern will face a Boston College team looking to claim its second Serues title. Boston College topped Boston University 7-2 in a match that included perhaps the most exciting set of results of the day on the top-3 court—BC’s Matthew Bell came back from 2-1 down at No. 3; BU’s Parker Tonissi won 12-10 in the fifth at No. 2, and BC’s Ryan Ashmore won 14-12 in the fifth at No. 1.
It will be an all-southern affair in the Hawthorn final as top seed North Carolina will take on second-seeded Richmond. North Carolina defeated Notre Dame 7-2 in the semifinal, while Richmond scraped by UC-Berkeley 5-4. The Hawthorn title will be first for either team.
Johns Hopkins and Vanderbilt each went undefeated in round robin pool play, and will contest the H division final at Trinity on Sunday morning.