Coming back to support the women’s squash team for the second Saturday afternoon in a row, the students and alumni crowding into the Brady Squash Center were not disappointed this time around.
After last week’s tough home loss to Princeton, Yale (10-3, 3-2 Ivy) bounced back and overwhelmed last-place Brown (6-8, 0-6) in a 8-1 victory. With six of the eight games won by scores of 3-0, the Bulldogs’ dominance in their last home meet of the regular season was unquestionable.
Though the Bears have been hammered in Ivy play thus far in 2006-’07 — the squad got rocked 9-0 in their matches against Harvard, Princeton and Penn — they came to New Haven fresh off a big win over Tufts. Brown’s less-than-stellar record gave the Elis confidence in their ability to win, but team members made sure to not take the Rhode Islanders for granted.
“I think everyone felt really good after the victory.” Tara Wadhwa ’09 said. “We wanted to make sure we played sharp and stayed on top of our game. We wanted to make sure we didn’t take them for granted and went in putting in everything we had to win really decisively. Everyone did their best and used this as a jump start for Harvard.”
The Bulldogs dropped down to No. 5 in the national rankings two weeks ago after a series of so-called “season-changing losses” to Penn, Princeton and Trinity. Despite a season less perfect than the recent dynasty years, players were optimistic about the remainder of the season.
“I think the win was really positive for us and gave us a chance to sharpen skills before the [Harvard] match,” Lauren McCrery ’07 said. “The [Brown match] gave us to chance to work on shots and basically get in a good mindset for Harvard.”
The Elis travel to Boston on Wednesday to face rival Harvard, who is currently ranked No. 3 nationwide. The Cantabs will be the last dual match opponents this season for Yale. After that, the Howe Cup tournament kicks off at the Brady Squash Center this Saturday.
“We have had 5-4 matches against a couple of teams this year,” McCrery said. “Those were lost only by a few games and were very tight. After all those matches, we are coming away with a positive attitude. Hopefully we’ll do well against Harvard to continue the positive feeling.”
This week has already been grueling and testing one for the Crimson, as they come into the match already having been swept in a two-match road trip at Penn and Princeton over the weekend.
“We’re in the same position as Harvard,” Wadhwa said. “We think we’re much deeper than Harvard, so every match counts from one to nine. We’re looking to play our best in every single spot and show that we can win.”
The Howe Cup seeds will not be determined before the result of the Yale-Harvard match.
“Right now there are a lot of things that are up in the air.” McCrery said. “Depending on how Harvard does this weekend and how we do against them, our seeding will be affected. We’re not sure right now who will play who.”
In their lone meeting against Harvard this year, the Elis lost to the Crimson 6-3 at the November Ivy Scrimmage, where they ultimately finished in fourth place. McCrery said the match on Wednesday definitely has the possibility of going either way, coming down to whoever was on top of their game.
After the odd Wednesday night game against the Cantabs, the Bulldogs will return home to wrap up team play with the Howe Cup.
“The next six days are going to be a huge grind.” Sarah Barenbaum ’08 said. “This is a very difficult week that we’re going into. We’ve been preparing for it all season — we’re physically prepared and are mentally preparing right now. Hopefully we can beat Harvard at their home turf.”