2020 CSA Individual Championships: Major Men’s Upset, Women’s Seeds Hold on Day 1

Penn’s James Flynn (right) reaches for a ball during his monumental upset victory over the top seed, Harvard’s Victor Crouin (left; photo: Michael T. Bello)

Action from Day 1 of the 2020 College Squash Association (CSA) National Collegiate Individual Championships filled University of Pennsylvania’s Squash Center, with two rounds of matches extending throughout the day. Some key results in the men’s Pool (A) Division grabbed the headlines on the first day, while many of the women’s Ramsay (A) Division matches played closely to seed.

James Flynn, a sophomore from Penn, stepped on court this afternoon against top seed and defending champion Victor Crouin from Harvard having just been inserted into the draw the day before due to an injury to teammate Andrew Douglas. Crouin earned a quick first-game win, but Flynn gradually settled in on his home court, finding the nicks and the back corners on several occasions. His work paid off as he tied the match at 1-1 thanks to a 12-10 game 2 win.

With the crowd expecting Crouin to turn things into high gear and pull away, Flynn stuck to his game plan to perfection. He managed to keep Crouin off balance and used a deft touch to pick out crucial winners. During identical 11-8 winning games, Flynn ground out point after point, clinching a massive upset victory, which delighted the home fans and shocked neutral onlookers.

The other first round matches went in favor of the higher seeds, but with the top half of the draw now wide open, another upset transpired in the quarterfinals. Harvard’s Skillman Award finalist Saadeldin Abouaish took on the fourth seed, Princeton’s Youssef Ibrahim, with a semifinal berth on the line. In an exemplary display of squash, the match went back and forth with Abouaish taking leads of 1-0 and 2-1. Ibrahim pushed things to the brink of fifth game, but Abouaish shut the door with a match-winning 12-10 win in the fourth game.

Along with Abouaish, the other Pool Division semifinalists are the 2- and 3-seeds, Miko Aijanen of Trinity and Marwan Tarek of Harvard, and Penn’s Aly Abou El Einen – who beat teammate and upset winner Flynn in the quarters.

The only real upset of the day in the women’s A draw – the Ramsay Division – came in the quarterfinals in the match between third-seeded Lucy Beecroft of Yale and Harvard’s Hana Moataz. Moataz’s high pace and crisp ball-striking took the challenge to Beecroft, and the Harvard sophomore ultimately cruised to a 3-0 win.

1-seed Gina Kennedy from Harvard cruised to two 3-0 victories during the day to secure her fourth consecutive semifinal berth. (photo: Michael T. Bello)

Moataz is joined in the Ramsay semifinals by some familiar foes: her Harvard teammates Gina Kennedy (top seed) and Amelia Henley (4-seed) will meet in one semifinal, with Kennedy aiming for her fourth final in as many years. To meet one of them in the final, Moataz will have to overcome Cornell’s Sivasangari Subramaniam, the second seed. Subramaniam and Kennedy will be out for a repeat of last year, where they met in the final in Providence.

16 women and 16 men have also advanced to the semifinals of four B Division draws for each gender (Holleran and Molloy). Six of the eight top seeds remain alive for championships in those divisions, where the division winners will be recognized as Second Team All-America selections.

For access to the draws and links to live streams of today’s matches on courts 1 through 6, please visit the Tournament Homepage.