The women’s squash team made quick work of the previously-undefeated Princeton Tigers, winning a decisive 8-1 contest at the Brady Squash Center.
The victory came on the heels of a week of enormous accomplishment for the Bulldogs (8-0, 4-0 Ivy), who dominated at the Constable Invitational Jan. 21-23 and knocked down perennial power No. 2 Trinity 7-2 on Wednesday. Despite their current undefeated streak of 20 matches, the Elis’ powerful play reflected the amount of work the team has dedicated to defending last year’s national title.
“We’ve just been competing very hard from the start,” captain Frances Ho ’05 said. “Our schedule is extremely challenging, but we’ve been focused and we’ll hopefully be even better at the end of the season.”
Dropping only five games overall against the No. 3 Tigers (6-1, 3-1) proved a lot about the physical condition and focus of the Eli squad, Michelle Quibell ’06 said.
“To have a big tournament followed by two hard matches says a lot about our fitness and our mental game,” Quibell said.
Quibell provides just one example of the intense work ethic of the Eli squad. After reviewing the tape of a tough loss to Trinity’s Lynn Leong, Quibell, the defending national champion, found that a few tactical errors had been her undoing. As champions tend to do, Quibell saw the loss as a learning experience rather than a reflection on her overall skill. Against Claire Rein-Weston, Princeton’s sophomore No. 1, Quibell made the adjustments and a nice recovery from the previous loss, schooling Rein-Weston in three games (9-5, 10-8, 9-1).
For the Elis, dedicated preparation in practice for upcoming competitions comes from the driving prospect of winning another title, said Amy Gross ’06.
“Our team is so deep, so we challenge each other in practice, working on our own individual goals,” Gross said. “What keeps us motivated and keeps us going is defending our title.”
From top to bottom, youngest to oldest, the Elis are talented through and through. Gross pointed out No. 6 Lauren Doline ’05 and No. 4 Miranda Ranieri ’08 as good examples of the Bulldogs’ depth.
“Doline has improved tremendously, moving from No. 8 last year to No. 6 this year, she’s a great competitor,” Gross said. “Ranieri — she’s a really feisty and tenacious player, I enjoy playing against her in practice.”
Doline edged out her Princeton opponent 3-2 in one of the closest matches of the day, while Ranieri cruised to a 3-0 win. The overall strength of the Eli lineup proved to be the downfall of the highly-regarded Tigers.
“We actually thought Princeton was going to be harder than Trinity,” Quibell said. “But they have two players out [to injury] so they weren’t as good.”