NEW YORK - Playing in his final home match at the SL Green StreetSquash Center with the Columbia men's squash team, Tony Zou captured a thrilling five-game victory in the No. 3 match to give the No. 11 Lions a 5-4 win over No. 12 Penn on Senior Day.
Columbia received two early wins from the top of the ladder as Ramit Tandon and Mohamed AbdelMaksoud each notched sweeps in the No. 1 and 2 matches, respectively. AbdelMaksoud breezed through the first two games, allowing Derek Chilvers to score just six points. Chilvers provided some resistance in the third game, but AbdelMaksoud completed the sweep, 11-4, 11-2, 12-10, with just one extra point. Tandon did not need any extra points to dispatch Danny Greenberg, 11-4, 11-7, 11-4.
Penn battled back as a team, coming away with wins in each of the final three spots on the ladder. Daniel Saleem responded for the Lions, recovering from one-game down to defeat Michael Mutscheller in the No. 6 match. After Saleem went ahead 2-1, Mutscheller captured the fourth game to force the decisive fifth. In the final game, Saleem raised his level of play to secure an 11-3 win. Kyul Rhee followed behind with Columbia's third victory via sweep, toppling Liam Quin in the No. 5 match, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5.
The No. 3 and 4 matches provided the large crowd of fans that braved Winter Storm Nemo with two exceptional squash matches. In the No. 4 match, Penn's August Frank and Columbia's Graham Miao went toe-to-toe in the longest match of the night. Miao took the opening game, 11-8, but Frank battled back to take the next two. Miao, with his regained composure, ripped through the fourth game, 11-4, to set the stage for the epic fifth. Miao and Frank maintained the high level of intensity, not allowing the other to clinch the match without extra points. Unfortunately for the Columbia faithful, Frank would be the first to string together a two-point advantage for the 16-14 fifth game win.
Zou and John Dudzik entered the court next with the team score knotted at 4-4. Zou carried all the early momentum, forging a two-game lead over his challenger from Penn. Dudzik found his stride over the next two game though, winning the third 12-10 and the fourth, 11-4, to create a tension in the crowd that had swarmed around the lone court still in action. Zou and Dudzik would go back-and-forth in the fifth game, but it would be Columbia's senior co-captain that delivered the thrilling victory for the Lions, edging Dudzik, 13-11.
Prior to the match, the Lions recognized seniors Zou, Miao and Alex Park for their contributions to the Columbia squash program. Columbia concludes regular-season competition Sunday, Feb. 10 at No. 1 Princeton. Match time if slated for 2:30 p.m.
Men: Columbia 5, Penn 4
1. Ramit Tandon (C) def. Danny Greenberg (P) - 11-4, 11-7, 11-4
2. Mohamed AbdelMaksoud (C) def. Derek Chilvers (P) - 11-4, 11-2, 12-10
3. Tony Zou (C) def. John Dudzik (P) - 12-10, 11-7, 10-12, 4-11, 13-11 *deciding match
4. August Frank (P) def Graham Miao (C) - 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 4-11, 16-14
5. Kyul Rhee (C) def. Liam Quin (P) - 11-9, 11-8, 11-5
6. Daniel Saleem (C) def. Michael Mutscheller (P) - 6-11, 11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 11-3
7. Jack Maine (P) def. Andrew Tan (C) - 11-9, 11-7, 11-3
8. Tyler Odell (P) def. Alec Goldberg (C) - 6-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6
9. Daniel Judd (P) def. Alex Nalle (C) - 11-2, 11-4, 11-1
10. Justin Ang (P) def. Alex Park (C) - 11-2, 11-4, 11-1