High hopes and a two-game winning streak were not enough to propel the women’s squash team to a victory over the highest-ranked team in the nation this weekend.
The No. 5 Bulldogs (8-3) took a hard 8-1 loss at home at the hands of the No. 1 Princeton Tigers (8-0) on Saturday. After narrowly falling to the Tigers, 5-4, during the Ivy Scrimmage in November, the lopsided defeat is all the more heartbreaking, even though the Elis expected the match to be one of their toughest, according to Aly Kerr ’12.
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No. 2 Sarah Toomey ’11 lost the first game of her match at the hands of Tigers junior Neha Kumar, 9-6, but fought to a 9-4 victory in the next game. But Kumar’s 9-0 victory in the third game prevented her from gaining any momentum, and a 9-3 loss in the fourth and final game gave the match to her opponent. At No. 3, Alia Aziz ’10 fought a similar battle, and after dropping the first two games 9-2, 9-4, she took the third, 9-6. But Princeton junior Emery Maine was unfazed, and her 9-3 victory in the final game gave the Tigers the match and the point.
No. 6 Alexandra Van Arkel ’12 fought hard against Princeton tri-captain Maggie O’Toole, giving the senior a run for her money. But O’Toole pulled out the first two games, 9-6 and 9-7, and took the match with a 9-1 victory in the third. In fact, Princeton did not drop any other games in the matchup — in all the matches from Nos. 4 through 9, the Tigers won in three.
The Elis’ one triumph of the day came at the hands of No. 1 Logan Greer ’11, who took out Princeton’s Amanda Siebert in three games, 9-4, 9-3 and 9-6. But this bright spot came too late in the day — the match had already been decided by the time Greer notched her victory.
The match was disappointing in more ways than one, according to Greer — after solid preparation and practices, the team simply did not play at its full potential, and bad luck and the illnesses of a few players did not help matters.
“It was a devastating loss,” Wadhwa said. “Princeton showed up and played very solidly, and as a team, our play was flat and we found it difficult to adapt our games to the level of the Princeton players.”
The loss drops the Elis to 2-2 in conference play, meaning that they stand alone in the fourth slot in the Ivy League with two matches left to play. Meanwhile, Princeton inches into first with its 4-0 conference record. Next week, the Tigers take on Dartmouth (7-6) — currently at last in the Ivy League with an 0-4 record — and if they win, as seems likely, the Tigers are guaranteed at least a share of the Ivy crown, and the championship would fall out of Yale’s reach.
Next weekend, the Bulldogs face off against Brown (3-5) at home. The Bears are right behind the Elis in the conference, with a 1-3 Ivy record, and could tie Yale with a win on Saturday. But as they move into the final part of their season, the Bulldogs say they are ready to leave their loss behind them.
“Looking forward, we are going back on court for the homestretch of our season, training hard, and preparing for the remainder of our matches,” Wadhwa said.