The Queen’s Athletic Recreation Center and the Kingston-Garrison Squash Club were filled with energy as 22 university teams from across Ontario and Quebec competed in the first crossover event of the 2018 – 2019 Jesters University League season. The event is the first of the season for teams to see how they stack up against others outside of their own geographic divisions.
For those unfamiliar with the league, or those of us who might need a refresher on the details of this ever-evolving league, the layout is as follows:
Each team is in one of three divisions based on where the university is located - East, Central, West.
Teams compete against the other teams in their respective divisions at “Sectional” events.
At “Crossover” events – teams compete against other divisions.
Crossover #1, held November 3rd and 4th by Queen’s University, was the first of two Crossovers that will be held throughout the 2018 -2019 University season.
Now, teams have only faced half of their competition, and will see the other half of the field at Crossover #2 in January.
The level of play was immensely competitive this weekend, with rookies and veterans sharing the spotlight.
In the men’s division, Western University prolonged their dynasty finishing with a perfect 4-0 team record. UWO dropped only two matches throughout the weekend. Conor Gale of Western was bested by a strong Willem Atack of Queen’s in a dramatic 5-game match. Cameron Meakin of Queen’s also went to 5 to upset Teddy Littler of Western with a win late Saturday evening. The top of Western’s men’s lineup for the weekend was rounded out with David Mill, Jackson Kay, Shaun Yang and Liam Knapp, all of whom went through the weekend undefeated.
Also undefeated in the men’s division was the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. The blues cruised through the weekend without much challenge, until their last match on Sunday where they took on the Queen’s Gaels who had home court advantage. Queen’s took an early lead winning at positions 7 and 4. Michael Haffey, Queen’s #7, took the win against Nicholas de Sousa of Toronto in 4 games. Alex Dorbyk, Queen’s #4 came from a 2-game deficit to win a close match against Matt Lau of Toronto, with scores of 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7. However, the Queen’s Gaels fell short when faced with the strong Varsity Blues leading trio of Josh Hollings, Sam Burley and Yusuf Shalaby. Josh Hollings put the cherry on top of the cake when he defeated Alex Collins in a three set match, giving U of T the 4-3 win over Queen’s that they were searching for.
The women’s division was also hotly contested, again with two teams finishing with perfect 4-0 team records. Queen’s University took advantage of the home court setting and competed with two separate teams, both of which finished in the top 5 spots.
Western University came out in full force for this Crossover, bringing an exceptionally strong crop of women. The Western Mustangs started the tournament against the historic favorites of Queen’s A. The top of the Gael’s lineup showcased rookie Sydney Maxwell and veteran Ali Richmond. Together, these two won the only two matches for Queen’s against Western’s Madison Khan and Amy Commisso, respectively. The impressive depth of the Western squad was unchallenged from position 3-7. The Western roster was rounded out with Catherine Giachino, Kate Pitfield, Heather Dart and Michaela Khan.
The other undefeated team was Queen’s B – dropping only one match throughout the weekend. Their 7-person line-up of all-stars was unparalleled, having recently gained Heather Mclachlan from Brock and Amelia Knapp of Calgary. The rest of the representation of the incredibly strong home team was fielded by Jenna Dhanani, Claire Wheaton, Jordan Mclachlan and Ana Sofijanic.
The athletes have a few short weeks of training until their next sectionals which is the last round of Jesters University League competition until the new year.
Squash Ontario would like to recognize and thank all who made this tournament a possibility. Special thanks to Lisa Coates and Eugene Zaremba for graciously hosting for the weekend. A huge thanks to Louis Cyr and his folks at the Kingston Garrison Squash Club for kindly allowing our event and energy to spill over. Another huge thank you to the Jesters, without whom none of this league would be possible. Special thanks to Jeff Deverill for representing the Jesters onsite this weekend and for photographing all the teams. Last, but certainly not least, thank you to Alex Carter and Jamie Nicholls, the Jesters’ University League co-commisioners, who support and grow this league at every turn with their immense energy and dedication.