Capping off a successful 2016-2017 campaign, the No. 2 Harvard men’s squash team sent two representatives to participate in the CSA Individual National Championships in Hanover, N.H. The Crimson’s top ranked player, freshman Saadeldin Abouaish, and sophomore Alexi Gosset competed in the Pool and Molloy North divisions of the event.
The duo posted strong results, as Abouaish placed in the fifth to eighth place range in his division, while Gosset claimed victory in the consolation bracket after losing his first-round matchup to Dartmouth sophomore Carson Spahr, 11-8, 11-4, 11-3.
Although he underperformed his third-place seeding, Abouaish finished with Harvard’s best result since 2015, when junior David Ryan made it to the semifinals as a rookie. Last year, co-captain Bryan Koh finished in the ninth to twelfth place range of the Pool Division as the Crimson’s lone representative, improving on his fourteenth-place ranking in the process.
In his first-round match, Abouaish faced off against the man who doused the Crimson’s national championship hopes just two weeks beforehand, Trinity sophomore Michael Craig. The Cairo, Egypt native made quick work of his Bantam opponent, however, as a clean three-set victory seemed inevitable from the outset.
After completing the sweep, Abouaish tackled a tougher test against a fellow Egyptian, St. Lawrence junior Ahmed Bayoumy. The match was contested throughout. After winning the first game 12-10, the rookie allowed himself to be bested in the next two sets. Abouaish clawed his way back into the match with a fourth game victory, only to fade in the fifth. Ending his tournament, the defeat—10-12,11-9,11-8,9-11,11-4—pushed Abouaish to an 11-6 overall record in his first season for the Crimson.
As a lower seed in the tournament’s B Division, Gosset faced a different challenge than Abouaish. The sophomore’s first round match went as seeding predicted, but once in the consolation bracket, Gosset cruised, winning three consecutive matches to claim ninth place in the sixteen-man bracket.
In his run, the Canadian overcame Middlebury freshman Will Cembalest, George Washington senior Andres de Frutos, and Amherst junior Michael Groot in succession. Finishing on a high note, Gosset’s most dominant performance, 11-4, 11-5, 11-2, came in the finals against Groot.
—Staff writer Jackson M. Reynolds can be reached at email@example.com.