HARTFORD, Conn. – Amherst College first-year Noah Browne wrapped up his outstanding rookie season this weekend with a run to the quarterfinals of the Molloy Division at the College Squash Association (CSA) Individual Championships hosted by Trinity.
Winning twice on Friday before an upset of top-seeded Mohamed Abdel Maksoud '15 of Columbia on Saturday morning, Browne finally saw his streak snapped by a familiar foe, as Dartmouth senior and fellow Bermuda native Robbie Maycock defeated the Jeff rookie in a tight 3-1 match on Saturday afternoon before falling in the semifinals. The loss snapped a seven-match win streak for Browne dating back to Feb. 2, as the first-year won 12 of his final 14 contests to cap a terrific debut season.
With the top 32 collegiate players battling in the Pool Division, the Molloy competition featured 48 student-athletes, 16 of whom received first-round byes in the 64-person style bracket. Browne was not one of them, but he received little challenge in his opening match, becoming more dominant as the contest continued and sweeping Vassar senior Jacob Harris by scores of 11-8, 11-6, and 11-3.
From then on, Browne was the underdog as he next encountered Princeton's David Hoffman '15 fresh off a first-round bye. Carrying over momentum from his morning triumph, Browne cruised in the first game, 11-5, before taking a 2-0 lead as he outlasted Hoffman, 12-10. The Tiger sophomore found his rhythm in time to avoid a sweep, however, as an 11-8 Hoffman win forced a fourth game. Motivated to avoid a winner-take-all fifth, Browne stemmed the tide and battled through a marathon finale, winning 17-15 to advance to the round of 16.
The odds were even further against Browne in his next matchup, as he took on Abdel Maksoud, the highest-ranked of eight seeded players in the Molloy bracket. Immediately establishing himself as a legitimate challenger, Browne grabbed the opener, 11-6. The No. 2 player for 12th-ranked Columbia, Abdel Maksoud battled back with a tight 11-9 win in the second, but Browne posted his best game yet in the third, winning 11-3. Just as he had against Hoffman, the Jeff rookie worked hard to avoid a fifth game as he triumphed in a back-and-forth clincher, 13-11, completing the big upset to earn a quarterfinal reunion with Maycock.
Although Browne and Maycock had not met in intercollegiate competition, the two were well acquainted heading into their Saturday afternoon tilt, having played against one another frequently as teammates on the Bermuda national squad. With Maycock fresh off a sweep of Bowdoin No. 1 Andrew Hilboldt – a familiar NESCAC rival of Browne's – the Dartmouth senior raced to an 11-3 first-game win before Browne regrouped in the second, fighting hard but ultimately falling, 11-9. Building on the near-win, the Jeff rookie avoided a sweep with a strong third game as he won, 11-5. In keeping with his recent history, Browne found himself in a fourth-game dogfight, but this time it was Maycock who prevailed, outlasting his former teammate, 13-11.
Maycock would go on to fall on Sunday morning, 3-1, to eventual division champion Vivek Dinodia of Princeton. Browne, meanwhile, ends the year with an individual record of 19-8 after a strong season of competition atop the Amherst lineup saw him garner first-team All-NESCAC honors.
With Browne leading the way, all but one of the Jeffs' top nine will return for the 2013-14 season as Amherst will look to improve on last weekend's 21st-place finish at the CSA Team Championships.