The women’s squash team went into its game this weekend at the University of Pennsylvania having not beaten the Quakers in the last six years. But the combination of Yale’s strong freshman class and the absence of Penn’s number one player — who is abroad this semester — gave the Bulldogs an advantage they had not enjoyed in past years.
Yale (1-0) took advantage of its newfound strength Saturday and left Philadelphia with a convincing 8-1 victory.
The Bulldogs were led by their No. 1 player, Frances Ho ’05, who won in straight sets. Ho is part of a freshman contingent that has stepped up for the team in the wake of the loss of seven seniors from last year’s No. 7 ranked squad.
Lauren Doline ’05, Sarah Coleman ’05, Lindsay Schroll ’05 and Abigail Epstein ’05 — the fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth players, respectively — all won their matches in straight sets.
“One thing that was great was that we had five freshmen in the top nine,” said Miriam Fisher ’02, the team’s captain.
Other players have praised the freshmen extensively, saying their presence has improved team chemistry.
“The team is a lot closer this year,” said Gina Wilkinson ’03. “Morale is a lot higher.”
Wilkinson’s match with Penn’s Rohini Gupta at the No. 4 position was the most competitive on the day. After winning the first game, Wilkinson dropped the next two to Gupta, falling behind 2-1. She won the next two games, winning the match 3-2.
“It wasn’t a very good match for me,” she said.
The only loss for the Bulldogs came when their number two player, Devon Dalzell ’04, fell in straight sets to the Quakers’ Dafna Wegner, 9-6, 9-2, 9-6. Wegner is Penn’s No. 1 this season but dropped to No. 2 for the Yale match because she is nursing an injury.
Dalzell said that despite the loss, she was satisfied with her ability to compete with Wegner, against whom she struggled last season.
“I knew that she is a tough competitor,” Dalzell said. “I didn’t expect to do as well as I did.”
In Philadelphia, the men’s squad (2-0, 1-0 Ivy) took on the University of Pennsylvania and Franklin and Marshall College. The Bulldogs dominated the two squads, winning 8-1 in both matches.
Against the Quakers, the Bulldogs’ No. 2 through No. 9 players won easily. Anshul Manchanda ’04 lost the only match for Yale, falling to Penn freshman Richard Repetto, 3-0. Repetto remains undefeated this season.
“Their number one is really strong,” Aftab Mathur ’03 said. “We weren’t expecting much of a fight from [the rest of the team].”
Franklin and Marshall’s No. 2 player, who beat David Hathaway ’04, was the only Diplomat able to muster a win.
“The rest was a joke,” Mathur said. “It was a walkover. Only their top two players put up a fight.”