Harvard Its Own Worst Enemy at Squash Tourney
Individual National Championships at Trinity, Navy
Another winter sport goes out with a bang this weekend.
The Harvard squash team's season is a fait accompli--and a pretty good one, at that: Another double national championship, even if the men's title was a bit tainted.
But this weekend brings the national individual championships, the final challenge for the Crimson's top players.
The undefeated women's team will send an unprecedented seven players to the tournament--junior Jordanna Fraiberg, junior Vanya Desai, sophomore Libby Eynon, senior Co-Captains Carrie Cunningham and Kathy Shergalis and freshmen Erin Dockery and Blair Clark.
Only Co-Captain Marty Clark and junior Adrian Ezra--the 1991 champion--will play in the men's bracket, but those two players are expected to be the first and second seeds of the 64-player affair.
Desai is the top seed of the women's bracket. Fraiberg, who has played in the last two finals and is the defending women's champion, is seeded third and Eynon is seeded fifth.
And this weekend, the women's squash team looks as unstoppable as the force of gravity.
"There are some good players from Franklin and Marshall and Vassar, but probably most of our competition is each other," Cunningham said.
That competition alone, however, is enough to make life interesting. Each of Harvard's top three women has a strong shot at the title.
Franklin and Marshall's Margo Green (the second seed) is the only non-Harvard player that is a serious threat.
But Fraiberg says there's "no tension" between Harvard team members.
"We all want to play our best," she said.
But if the quest for national honor pits Harvard women against one other, it does the same for Harvard men.
Though the men's team will send only two players to this year's individual tournament (three others were selected but elected to stay behind because they were "behind in their schoolwork," according to Clark), but what a crew: Ezra and Clark.
It's Reebok's "Dan and Dave" all over again for these two. Ezra and Clark have been fierce competitors for three years now, though Ezra quickly adds "all competition is left on the court."
"I think we're both excited about playing each other," Clark said of the confrontation in the finals which both players expect.
But Clark has been sick lately, and Scott Stoneburgh the third-seeded hitter from Western Ontario--promises to give him a tough semi-final match.
And even Ezra admits a few token doubts. "Hardball is an inconsistent game," he said. "Anyone on a good streak could beat anybody else.
Ezra, who is from India, also said he's had trouble adjusting to American "Hardball" squash from "softball" squash, the wide court squash game played in the rest of the world.
In fact, Ezra, who won the hardball championship two years ago and took second last year (Jeremy Fraiberg '92 won that year)--still says his biggest weakness is that he is simply not a hardball player.
"My fundamental hardball basics are wrong," he said, "or not as right as they should be."
Nonetheless Ezra isn't too afraid of this year's competition. "This year's a significantly weaker field," he said. "At least that's what I feel."