March 20, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Two-time CSA Individual Champion Michelle Quibell made a strong showing this weekend in the 2006 U.S. National Championships, which were held at the Brady Squash Center. Quibell, the No. 6 seed in the tournament, advanced all the way to the finals in her first tournament as a pro before losing to No. 1 Latasha Kahn, 9-4, 6-9, 9-0, 9-7 on Sat., Mar. 18.
Quibell noted afterward that her track record in the tournament has not been great, making her performance this past weekend all the more impressive.
"I've played in this tournament every year since high school," she said. "Without exception, I've done poorly, because I've just been so burned out from the season."
She showed no such effects in the first two rounds of the tournament, however, as she dominated Juliana Lilien 9-1, 9-1, 9-2 and thrashed No. 3 Ivy Pochoda 9-0, 9-6, 9-1. Quibell won her second straight match against a higher seed in the semifinals, where she downed No. 2 Meredeth Quick 9-2, 9-3, 9-1. No. 1 seed Kahn defeated Harvard's Lily Lorentzen in the other semifinal match 9-0, 9-0, 9-5, preventing a Bulldog-Cantab final and the third showdown of the year between Lorentzen and Quibell.
Though Quibell eventually fell to Kahn in that final match, the four-time all-Ivy player was more than satisfied with her performance.
"The crowd was cheering; I had nothing to lose," she said. "Win or lose, everyone was supporting me. That felt really good."
"I couldn't have asked for a better tournament," she continued. "They worked really hard to get the tournament at Yale for Julian and me. The two of us just love playing on that glass court. Overall, it was an incredibly positive experience."
She also said playing for money - and winning approximately $1,000 - added a new element to her squash career.
"It was really incredible - it's amazing how much momentum can come from it," she joked. "[The money] really does make things more interesting."
Report filed by David Sherfinski '08, Yale Sports Publicity