Hartford, Conn. – Sophomore Affeeq Ismail (Kuching, Malaysia) came back from a 2-1 deficit and won game four, 11-4, and game five, 11-9, in the No. 8 position to clinch the 2015 College Squash Association (CSA) National Championship (Potter Trophy) Finals for the host Trinity College Bantams this afternoon at Kellner Center. Trinity, seeded No. 1 in the field but ranked No. 3 nationally at the start of this season, downed the No. 2-seeded St. Lawrence University Saints, 7-2, to capture its 15th national title. Ismail was honored as the CSA Potter Trophy Palyer of the Championship for his outstanding play this weekend. He went 3-0 with wins over Pennsylvania's George Lemmon and Columbia's Arthum Saleem on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Finishing the year with a 20-1 record, the Bantams have won 15 Potter Trophy crowns in the last 17 seasons. Trinity was hosting the CSA National Championships for the first time, and appearing in its 19th consecutive Potter Trophy Final. The Bantams won the title each year from 1999 to 2011 and again in 2013 prior to today, while finishing as runner-up in 1997, 1998, 2012, and 2014. Today's final was the first Potter Trophy Championship to feature two Division III colleges in the history of the event.
Trinity first-years Rick Penders (Maastricht, Netherlands) and Omar Allaudin (Lahore, Pakistan) gave the home team a quick 2-0 lead, and fellow rookie James Evans (Maidstone, England) heroically pulled out the No. 6 match, 3-2, against St. Lawrence freshman Hussein Elrayes (Cairo, Egypt) to make it 3-0. Evans was down, 2-1, but took the fourth and fifth games by 11-7 scores to give Trinity a sweep of the first wave.
"We felt we needed a fast start in what we knew would be extremely competitive matches," said Trinity Head Coach Paul Assaiante. "Rick Penders came out on fire, and all three freshmen really came through for us."
Senior co-captain Karan Malik (Bangalore, India) won, 3-0, in the No. 5 match for a 4-0 Bantam lead, but the Saints collected their first point when rookie Edgar Zayas (Querataro, Mexico) edged Bantam senior Miled Zarazua (Mexico City, Mexico), 3-2, in the No. 2 position. Ismail and St. Lawrence freshman Lockie Munro (Toronto, Ontario) traded games back and forth in the No. 8 match, as Munro outlasted Ismail, 13-11, in the third game, but Ismail rallied to take the next two, 11-4, and, 11-9, to clinch the team decision. In the third wave, senior co-captain Moustafa Hamada (Alexandria, Egypt) and junior Juan Vargas (Bogota, Colombia) won for Trinity, while Saint junior Amr Khalifa (Cairo, Egypt) downed senior Vrishab Kotian (Mumbai, India), 3-1, in the No. 1 spot.
"I am so happy for this team and also glad that the College was able to celebrate this occasion with us," added Assaiante. "This really felt like a victory for the whole campus. We were down and out last spring after losing to Harvard in the finals, but finding out this year's tournament was going to be held in Hartford, turned the whole ship around."
1. SL- Amr Khlaifa d. Vrishab Kotian, 6-1, 11-6, 14-12, 12-10
2. SL- Edgar Zavas d. Miled Zarazua, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8
3. TC - Rick Penders d. Ahmed Bayoumy, 11-8, 11-7, 11-2
4. TC- Juan Vargas d. Ibrahim Khan, 11-5, 11-4, 11-3
5. TC- Karan Malik d. Anderson Good, 11-5, 11-8, 11-4
6. TC- James Evans d. Hussien Elrayes, 11-8, 10-12, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7
7. TC- Moustafa Hamada d. Duncan Maxwell, 11-7, 11-7, 15-13
8. TC- Affeeq Ismail d. Lockie Munro 8-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-4, 11-9.
9. TC- Omar Allaudin d. Christopher Fernandez, 13-11, 11-9, 11-5
Trinity (Conn.) 7, St. Lawrence