March 6, 2005
Yale junior Julian Illingworth, playing in his first national title match, fell in three games to three-time College Squash Association champion Yasser El-Halaby of Princeton before a large crowd at Dartmouth's Berry Center today.
Illingworth, the No. 2 seed who made it to the national semifinals last year, defeated Bernardo Samper of Harvard on Saturday night to advance to the finals. He was trying to become the first Bulldog since Victor Wagner in 1982 to win an individual national championship.
El-Halaby, the No. 1 seed, overcame a 3-1 deficit to win the opening game 9-6. The two players moved around the court like two playful cats with a very active mouse. But that was all Illingworth had in the tanks today. The Tiger from Princeton then cruised to 9-1 wins in the last two games.
"The first game was so key. He lost his confidence after that game," said Yale head coach Dave Talbott. "Julian tried to break him physically and play very long points. Yasser has another notch and is so quick around the court."
report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director