Despite an early 4–2 lead, the women’s squash team narrowly fell to the undefeated Trinity Bantams on Wednesday night in front of a packed Brady Squash Center crowd.
The No. 2 Bantams (8–0) rallied to win the last three matches to beat the No. 4 ranked Bulldogs (8–2, 2–1 Ivy) by a score of 5–4, halting Yale’s seven-game winning streak.
“I thought we could close it after being up 4–2,” head coach David Talbott said. “I am still very proud of our girls. We played with the most intensity I have seen in a while, and it was definitely the best match we have played in a couple of years.”
The Bulldogs were able to get wins from Sarah Toomey ’11 and team captain Alia Aziz ’10, who played the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively. As the Elis were only able to win two of the top four spots, the lower part of the Bulldog lineup put the team in a position to win.
Katie Ballaine ’13, who played No. 6, edged out Alicia Rodriguez 3–2, while Caroline Reigeluth ’11 also managed to earn a victory in the No. 7 spot by winning her match by scores of 14–12, 7–11, 3–11, 11–6 and 11–8.
Although Ballaine was down 2–1, she climbed her way back into the match for an intense fifth game. In that game, Rodriguez was forced into performing splits in an effort to hit Ballaine’s shots. But athletic moments of brilliance such as this were not enough to hold of Ballaine from capturing the victory.
“It felt good to come back and win,” Ballaine said. “We played our hearts out today and you can’t ask for anything more. Even though we lost, we definitely know that we can beat those big teams like Harvard, Trinity and UPenn.”
Talbott said professional squash matches around the world rarely attract crowds as large as the one that witnessed Wednesday night’s match.
And that crowd provided a rare home-court advantage for the Bulldogs. Yale fans frequently chanted, “U-S-A, U-S-A,” alluding to the fact that Trinity played only one American in its top nine positions. The Bulldogs’ roster features only American-born players.
“It is rare that I play an all-American team,” Talbott said. “These international kids are very experienced, and they have dominated the league. But our girls are very experienced too. For a lot of the international players, squash is the only sport they have ever played. Meanwhile, our No. 1 player [Logan Greer] started on the women’s varsity lacrosse team last spring.”
After the match, Aziz was almost at a loss for words in expressing her team’s determination and effort.
“We really fought today in all of our matches, and we were definitely the fitter team,” Aziz said. “It is important that we keep going hard and don’t let down because there is a lot of [the] season left and a lot of time to improve.”
The Elis will look to rebound from the loss when they play their next match on the road against No. 7 Princeton on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 12 p.m.