It was not surprising that Mike Desaulniers took home the biggest silver cup at the National Singles Squash Championships yesterday, but the way he won it was a bit out of the ordinary. Over one hour after the contest's scheduled starting time fellow finalist Mario Sanchez of Mexico defaulted the match on the advice of his doctors.
Sanchez, who played two five-game matches on Sunday, acquired a blister on his toe which led to an infection and when doctors gave him an injection of penicillin, his troubles really began. Either a reaction to the medication or a popped blood vessel from the shot itself forced Sanchez to seek medical advice just prior to taking to the courts. Much to the dismay of Desaulniers and the assembled squash mavens (not to mention Sanchez), the doctors recommended that he not play for fear of permanent injury.
In reaching the title round, Desaulniers handily disposed of four opponents without losing a game.
Sunday was just a light workout for the Harvard superman. Desaulniers raced by Palmer Page, older brother of Princeton's Tom Page, 15-9, 15-5 and 15-4 in the quarterfinals and then whipped third seed Vic Harding 15-5, 15-7 and 15-7.
Life was not so easy for Sanchez as he survived two marathon matches to advance to the finals. On Sunday morning, he defeated top seed and defending champion Tom Page, 8-15, 15-14, 15-12, 10-15, and 15-11. That same afternoon he bested the fourth seed Jay Nelson in another donnybrook, 15-12, 15-12, 11-15, 12-15, and 15-4.
Last weekend, Desaulniers and Sanchez met in the finals of the Canadian nationals and Desaulniers came out on top.
"It's just not as satisfying, winning it like this rather than on the court," Desaulniers said. "It's a big let-down," he added.
"Sanchez was justifiably in the finals," Desaulniers said. "He was a notch better than anyone else in the tournament except maybe Page."
Although much of the spotlight was on Desaulniers and the singles competition, his Harvard teammates went after another trophy--the squad championship.
Awarded a bye in the first round, the Crimson number one team did not see action until Saturday when they ousted Northern Jersey, 4-1. John Havens, Ned Bacon, Mark Panarese and John Stubbs all swept their contests, winning 3-0. Harvard's Clancy Nixon dropped a close match, 2-3.
On Sunday, the racquetmen faced the Mexican squad--the number one seeds in the tourney--and the eventual secondplace finishers. The Crimson fell 2-3, but not without a struggle. Captain Panarese blanked his opponent, 3-0, and Bacon posted a 3-2 victory.
Coach Dave Fish described the play of seniors Panarese and Bacon as phenomenal. "I just can't say enough about how well they played," he said.
Harvard's second team, made up of the seventh through 11th men on the varsity, lost in the first round to a combined team from Connecticut and Eastern Massachusetts.
"The team played well," Panarese said, "and that makes us confident for the intercollegiate championships where we will face Princeton again."
"They're being held at Princeton this year and that's the really tough thing," he added.
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