Another victory has the women’s squash team looking to ride the momentum of the past two weekends toward what will likely be one of their toughest matchups so far this season.
The No. 5 Bulldogs (6-1) cruised to a 7-2 win over Cornell (4-4) in Ithaca, N.Y., on Saturday. The Big Red also picked up a win in the No. 10 slot in exhibition play.
The Elis’ New York foes gave them a bit of a scare as the showdown commenced and the first round of matches began. No. 3 Alia Aziz ’10 dropped her first game, 9-4, and though she picked up the second with a 2-9 victory, her opponent, Cornell freshman Shivangi Paranjpe, took the final two games and the match. At No. 6, Alexandra Van Arkel ’12 took part in a back-and-forth battle against Big Red freshman Lauren Sachvie, with Sachvie taking the first game, 9-4, and Van Arkel snagging the next two, 4-9, 5-9. But Sachvie fought back and after tying it up with a 9-6 win, she ultimately took the match in five, winning the final game 10-8.
But the Bulldogs were not to be so easily discouraged and, though they had expected an easy win, according to Logan Greer ’11, they redoubled their efforts and refused to give in. Led by Greer playing at No. 1, the Elis proceeded to take the remaining seven matches despite solid Cornell opposition. No. 5 Caroline Reigeluth ’11 came back from a one-game deficit to win the next three games — and her match — 2-9, 10-8, 10-8, 9-7. Captain Tara Wadhwa ’09, playing at No. 7, also proved herself unrattled by the loss of her first game 3-9, as she neatly snapped up the next three games 9-4, 9-5, 9-4.
At No. 9, Katharine Ettinger ’10 picked up her first game, 9-7, before Big Red freshman Clare Berner rallied to take the next two, 8-10, 5-9. Like her teammates, Ettinger kept a cool head, and after knotting the score at two games each with a dominating 9-0 performance in the fourth, she won the fifth game, 9-7, and took the match.
“I’m really proud of how much the team has stepped up to the tough competition we face this year,” Wadhwa said. “Both the underclassman and juniors have really put 110 percent into the team and our training, and we are excited to see it pay off.”
Greer’s 9-6, 9-4, 9-0 win at No. 1 was echoed by No. 2 Sarah Toomey’s ’11 victory in three, and Rhetta Nadas ’12 and Ally Kerr ’12 also put in solid performances without dropping a game. The squad will need victories like those this Wednesday, when they will head north to Hartford to take on No. 3 Trinity (6-0). The Bantams are fresh off a win over No. 8 Dartmouth (5-3) in which the Big Green did not take a single game — and in which Trinity’s No. 1 player, freshman Nour Bahgat, did not cede a single point to her opponent. But the Bulldogs are well aware of how tough this Wednesday could be, according to Wadhwa.
“Trinity will definitely be a tougher opponent, and we will have to step it up on Wednesday,” she acknowledged. “Playing Cornell was a great way to prepare for the Trinity match in that we got to compete at a high level.”
“I think Saturday was definitely a good prep match for this Wednesday,” Kerr agreed. “It really made us conscious of what we need to work on and [gave us] the motivation to train hard the next couple of days leading up to the Trinity match.”
And as for Wednesday’s faceoff, Wadhwa says, the Elis are ready to give it their all.
“We have worked really hard and I think the results reflect this,” she said. “However, there is still much work to be done and we intend to see it through.”