Victor Crouin of Harvard University and Sivasangari Subramaniam of Cornell University were the winners of the 2022 College Squash Association (CSA) National Collegiate Individual Championships held at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia on Sunday. Subramaniam captured her first title after reaching the final in 2019, and she becomes the first Cornell woman in program history to win the Ramsay Cup. This is the second individual championship for Crouin, who won in Providence, RI as a freshman in 2019.
All four finalists put on a masterful display and presented a level of squash perhaps never seen before in the national collegiate finals. Just as importantly, the sporting behavior, character, and class exhibited by the four players was the best example fans could have asked for on the biggest stage of the college game.
The men’s Pool Trophy final was first on court, and the skillful display was evident from the very beginning. As they say in the squash commentating world, there was nothing between the two players as neither player could pull farther than a point or two ahead of their opponent. The first game was a sign of things to come as it extended to multiple extra points and kept the crowd on the edge of their seats. In the end, Crouin took the first game 16-14, gaining an early advantage and taking something out of Ibrahim’s legs.
The next two games were tight as could be again. Whenever a player would score a few points in a row, their opponent would bounce right back to level the score. In both games two and three, Ibrahim was the one who won the points at the critical moments, taking both games by identical 11-9 scores and moving ahead into a 2-1 lead.
Now it was Crouin’s turn to regroup and come out firing, gradually building a lead which temporarily took the fight out of Ibrahim. Crouin’s 11-5 Game 4 win set the stage for an epic battle to the finish. Back and forth the scores went, with punches and counterpunches and both players digging deep for every last ounce of energy without allowing their level of play to drop. Fittingly enough, the fifth game and the national championship needed extra points to decide the result, and it was Crouin barely edging ahead at 12-10 to clinch the championship victory.
The capacity crowd at the Specter Center only had a few moments to catch its collective breath before the women’s final – the Ramsay Cup – commenced. Subramaniam and her Harvard opponent, Moataz, have met several times before, but most notably in this event in 2020 at the semifinal stage. Moataz captured the victory then in three close games, but Subramaniam had the most recent win during the regular season this year.
Subramaniam came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, keeping the pace fast and her opponent off balance. Just as fast as she cruised to a Game 1 victory (11-4), Moataz struck back with a vengeance in the second game. She adjusted to Subramaniam’s style and even forced some errors from the Cornell woman to even the match at one game apiece with an 11-2 win.
From that point forward, the crowd witnessed another match that was as even as could be. Both players traded leads and looked like they would be the one to finally take a commanding lead, but the match stayed close throughout games three and four. Subramaniam claimed the third game 11-9, but Moataz managed to stave off defeat in Game 4 with a 14-12 extra-point win, sending the match to the deciding fifth game after saving four championship balls.
The fifth game started as the previous two had with each player fighting for every point and not letting their opponent get too far ahead after taking a small lead. At 7-7 in the fifth, Subramaniam won two points in quick succession, including a Moataz error off a serve. With the championship in sight again at 9-7, Subramaniam this time buckled down and found the two winning shots that she needed in two opposite corners. With a scream of jubilation and relief, Subramaniam had earned the first individual national championship in her program’s history.
The B Divisions draws – the Molloy for the men and the Holleran for the women – featured eight new winners this year. Only two of the eight top seeds captured the titles, and all eight winners will be honored with Second-Team All America status. Each of the eight winners also hailed from eight different schools. View all results on the Tournament Page.
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