Intercollegiate Doubles players enjoying on-court recognition at the U.S. Open. Photo by Steve Line/Squashpics.com
As Philadelphia hosts the world’s best professional singles players in the 2013 Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships, the birthplace of squash doubles – Racquet Club of Philadelphia – and Germantown Cricket Club were home the 2013 U.S. Intercollegiate Doubles Championships. For the third year in a row, the tournament was held as a part of the U.S. Open squash week. Twenty-four men’s, six women’s, and seven mixed teams came to fight on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Butcher-Ball Cup, the national tournament that was started in 1942 and revived in 1988. The tournament was presented by the U.S. Jesters Club.
On hand for the finals were a number of squash legends including national doubles champions Ralph Howe, Trevor McGuinness and Rich Sheppard as well as the U.S. representative of the Jesters Club Carter Fergusson.
Princeton University’s Maria Elena Ubina collected two winners trophies in her first mixed and women’s doubles final appearances, while the United States Naval Academy’s Hunter Beck and Andrew McGuinness – younger brother of Trevor – collected the service academy’s first-ever national individual title in an all-Navy final.
The finalists converged at the Racquet Club on Sunday, October 13, and first on court were the mixed pairings of Princeton’s freshman Ubina & senior Samuel Kang against Franklin & Marshall College’s sophomore Pedro Veiga De Almeida & freshman Fiona Murphy.
A run of nine straight points put the Tigers ahead of the Diplomats 9-1 in the first game on their way to a 15-5 win. Ubina & Kang topped their run of nine consecutive points in the first with twelve unanswered points in the second. De Almeida & Murphy presented a more formidable challenge in the third going blow for blow with their opponents, but at 12-12, Ubina & Kang pulled away to win the game 15-12, and match 3-0.
Women’s Junior World team member Ubina has played in a few professional and amateur doubles tournaments already, so although a freshmen, she exhibited formidable experience. She remained on court for the women’s final, teaming with sophomore Rachel Leizman to face Columbia University junior Alisha Maity & sophomore Diya Kumar who narrowly missed out on the 2012-2013 title to Trinity that was decided by points in a three-team round robin pool. Ubina again did not drop a game with partner Leizman to win her second intercollegiate doubles title of the day 15-7, 15-13, 15-6.
With Head Coach Craig Dawson in attendance, the Naval Academy was guaranteed its first national title since winning the men’s intercollegiate team championships in 1967, and first ever individual title with an all-midshipmen final between juniors Beck on the left wall & McGuinness on the right up against sibling junior left-waller Jim & sophomore right-waller Bill Kacergis.
For one seeds Beck & McGuinness, this marked their third attempt to win an intercollegiate doubles title since first entering the competition as freshmen teammates in 2011. Their freshman year saw the duo upset the defending champions in the first round, but fall short of reaching the final with a semifinal exit. In 2012, Beck & McGuinness lost in a four-game final to Princeton’s Taylor Tutrone & Todd Harrity. This year in preparation for the tournament, the midshipmen traveled to Baltimore to play more than a dozen times on Meadow Mill Athletic Club’s doubles courts and thus the quality of play was high.
Beck & McGuinness and Navy got their first intercollegiate doubles title as the tops seeds dispatched their classmates in three games 15-8, 15-7, 15-7.
Twenty-four men’s, six women’s, and seven mixed teams came to fight on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Butcher-Ball Cup, the national tournament that was started in 1942 and revived in 1988.