Men’s Upsets, Women’s Seeds Highlight Day One of Individuals

Women’s top seed Sabrina Sobhy (right) of Harvard overcame Trinity’s Min Jie Teh (left) to clinch a semifinal berth in the 2019 CSA Individual National Championships (photo credit: Michael T. Bello)

On the first day of competition at the 2019 College Squash Association (CSA) Individual National Championships, the women’s top division, the Ramsay Division, played mostly to seed while the men’s Pool Division – the top draw – saw a few attention-grabbing upsets.

El-Gawarhy (left) and Davies

The first Pool Division match of the day turned out to be a sign of things to come when the lowest seed in the draw – 16-seed Sam Scherl of Harvard – jumped out to a 2-0 lead over top seed Ashley Davies of Rochester. Davies clawed his way back into that match, ultimately outlasting Scherl for the victory, but the energy expended to come back would take its toll on Davies in his quarterfinal match against St. Lawrence’s 9-seed Mohamed El-Gawarhy. In a highly charged match that went back and forth, it was El-Gawarhy who was better able to control his emotions and to find the winning formula to hand Davies his first loss of the season. Meeting El-Gawarhy in Saturday’s semifinal is University of Pennsylvania’s fourth seed Andrew Douglas, who overcame a long delay due to a bleeding injury to dispatch No. 5 Kush Kumar of Trinity in the quarterfinal.

No. 2 seed Victor Crouin, the freshman from Harvard, cruised to the semifinal in the bottom half of the draw, surrendering only 22 points total over his first two matches. Yale’s Spencer Lovejoy, the sixth seed, is the fourth semifinalist and will face off with Crouin in a classic Harvard-Yale match-up. Lovejoy took down Trinity’s Thoboki Mohohlo in the first round, and then shocked the viewing crowd with a masterful five-game victory over Columbia’s No. 3 seed, Velavan Senthilkumar. In a rematch of Senthilkumar’s 3-0 stroll over Lovejoy during the regular season, the Yale Bulldog played consistent squash and hit the winning shots when it mattered to come back from his 2-1 deficit.

Sedky (right) and Columbia’s Habiba Mohamed (left)

The Ramsay Division draw had considerably less drama during Friday’s action than the Pool Division, with the top three seeds clinching semifinals berths, joined by the 5-seed.  In a rematch of the 2017 and 2018 Ramsay Cup finals, No. 2 Reeham Sedky from Penn and No. 3 Georgina Kennedy from Harvard will clash with a spot in the final on the line. Both players advanced with two efficient 3-0 wins apiece. Top seed Sabrina Sobhy of Harvard will meet the only new face left on the women’s side, Cornell’s first-year Sivasangari Subramaniam. Despite an early game loss in the first round to Yale’s Helen Teegan, Sobhy recovered for a smooth progression to the semis.  Subramaniam earned a 3-0 win in the first round and exhibited her top-level prowess with a convincing 3-1 win over Trinity’s No. 4 seed Sarahi Lopez Dominguez.

Action starts at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning with all of the divisions’ consolation semifinals before moving on to the championship semifinals in the afternoon. The Pool semifinals begin at 1:30 p.m. with the Ramsay semifinals directly following. Check out the Tournament Home page for live streaming, draw listings, and live results throughout the tournament.