Squashmen Endure for Six-Man Title
McConnell Takes Squash Title; Hulbert, Kaye Star for Hosts
Speculating on the Intercollegiates before the hordes descended on Hemenway Friday. Harvard Associate Coach Pris Pool said of UPenn star Alicia McConnell. "I don't see anyone who can really push her to the wall."
Three days and more than 100 matches later. Pool's prediction proved correct. Nobody came close to McConnell, and the freshman sensation coasted through the tournament, dropping only one game to Harvard's Mary Hulbert in the semis.
McConnell erased all doubts about her domination of women's squash the year with a devastating three-game demolition of Trinity's Nina Porter in yesterday's final.
The win establishes McConnell. 18, as the best college player in the country, and combined with her earlier victories in the National and Junior championships, gives her the first triple crown ever achieved in women's squash in a single year.
Aside from McConnell, the next biggest story of the weekend was the emergence of another freshman superstar, the Crimson's Hulbert.
The yardling waltzed into the semis without losing a game before coming up against McConnell. Not intimidated, Hulbert eked out an 18-17 tiebreaker victory in the first game but then fell victim to the top seed's dazzling array of shots, losing 3-1.
The Crimson ace saved face by coming right back to topple McConnell's teammate Karen Kelso, in the consolation final for third place. Kelso came within a point of making it an all-UPenn final, but lost to a hard-charging Porter in the other semi-final match, a a marathon five-game classic.
In the Hulbert-Kelso battle, Harvard's number one survived many questionable let calls and a late rally by her opponent before putting her away. Up 2-0. Hulbert squandered several match points in the third game, allowing Kelso to force a fourth stanza. The seesaw final game ended when a Kelso forehand hit the tin, giving Hulbert the game, 18-17, the match, and a 1982 collegiate ranking of third.
Does It Again
Also excelling for Harvard this weekend was Laura Kaye. Knocked out of the main draw by Kelso on Friday, the Crimson number-four player stormed back to sweep the second consolation tourney Kaye cleaned up in four matches, whipping all comers without dropping a game.
"She smeared the whole field, "Coach Jack Barnaby said after her 15-4, 15-8, 15-6 destruction of Franklin and Marshall's Leslie Johnston in the final.
Harvard's other two entrants, juniors Jackie Corrigan and Lisa Harrison, got KO'd in the third and fourth rounds, respectively.