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Lorentzen Ends Teammate Grigg’s Underdog Run

Lily Lorentzen had a pretty good weekend.

The Harvard freshman, the top seed in the CSA Individual National Championships, steamrolled her way through the bracket and into the finals, where she emerged with a five-game win and the national individual title. Lorentzen, who postponed her enrollment to spend a year training and competing on the international circuit, became the first Harvard player to win the Ramsay Cup since 1998.

Yes, it was a pretty good weekend for Lily Lorentzen.

But Kyla Grigg’s might have been a little bit better.

Grigg, a junior who played at No. 2 for the Crimson this season, upset both the second and third seeds in the tournament on the way to a meeting with Lorentzen in the finals. Although Grigg ultimately fell in five games to her younger teammate, as a seventh seed it was surprising that she had made it there at all. Even though Grigg had reached the finals in 2005’s tournament, she had to go through two-time Individuals champion Michelle Quibell of Yale early on, in the quarterfinals.

Quibell’s only losses this season had come to Lorentzen—once in the Crimson’s 5-4 win in New Haven, and once when Quibell defaulted in the Howe Cup tournament. Heading into the individual tournament, almost everyone anticipated a heated showdown between the graduating veteran Quibell and the up-and-coming rookie Lorentzen.

Everyone, that is, except Grigg—and Lorentzen herself.

“I totally thought Kyla had a shot to beat her,” Lorentzen said. “Michelle didn’t have a very lucky draw to meet Kyla.”

“I was excited, because I had absolutely nothing to lose,” Grigg said. “[Quibell] had more difficult time on her side of it, more pressure.”

Grigg placed her shots to exploit the defending champ’s nagging hamstring injury, which had contributed to Quibell’s default loss to Lorentzen the week before.

“I’m not going to say I wasn’t thinking about it,” Grigg said of the injury. “You take advantage of that, hit more to that leg. That’s how you compete.”

Instead of the grueling battle or quick Yale upset that many had predicted, it was Grigg who emerged with a 9-4, 9-5, 9-3 win.

Grigg made short work (18 minutes) of another Bulldog, No. 2 seed Miranda Ranieri, to punch her ticket to a bout with Lorentzen in Sunday’s final.

And it made for a final with little appeal to anyone outside the small Harvard contingent in Amherst for the weekend—which was fine with both of them.

“It was really exciting—maybe even more exciting—to have a teammate in the final,” Lorentzen said.

Lorentzen took a 6-1 lead in the first game and held on for a 9-7 win. She padded her lead to 2-0 with a 9-3 victory in the second game.

In the third and fourth games, however, Grigg twice held her teammate scoreless to tie up the match.

“She played the third and fourth games really well, a lot of really good winners,” Lorentzen said. “Kyla reads my game really well—I have to think what she thinks I’m going to do, and then do the opposite.”

After Grigg took a 7-1 lead in the decisive fifth game, Lorentzen finally regained her form to pull out a 9-7 win and claim the title her No. 1 seeding had predicted.

But Grigg didn’t seem too upset with the way her tournament run had ended. Either way, the Ramsay Cup was back in Crimson hands.

“Lily’s just a fantastic player—either way it’s a success,” she said.

“If I had to lose to anyone,” Grigg added, “I’d like it to be Lily.”

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