The Yale women’s squash team fell to Princeton in New Jersey this past weekend, dashing the team’s chances of capturing the Ivy League title.
The No. 4 Bulldogs (8–3, 2–2 Ivy) lost to the No. 7 Tigers (4–2, 3–1 Ivy) by a score of 5–4, which puts the Elis on a two-match losing streak after losing to No. 2 Trinity on Jan. 20.
Although the Elis defeated the Tigers 7–2 in the Ivy Scrimmages back in early November, Princeton proved on Saturday that it is an improved team that takes advantage of playing on its home court.
“We are disappointed in the loss, but the girls played very hard,” head coach David Talbott said. “Princeton is much better now than they were [in November], especially in the middle of their lineup.”
A major contributing factor to the Tigers’ victory was the performance of Neha Kumar, who defeated Rhetta Nadas ’12 by a score of 3–0 at the No 4 spot. Kumar, who played the No. 1 position for Princeton last year, has returned to the middle of the ladder after sustaining an injury earlier in the season.
“Nobody is going to beat Neha [Kumar] at 4,” Talbot said. “She has been hurt, so you can’t really appeal where they put her.”
Despite the return of a healthy Princeton roster, the Elis managed to compete until the very end of the match. The four victories came from Logan Greer ’11, team captain Alia Aziz ’10, Katie Balliane ’13, and Caroline Reigeluth ’11 who played the No. 1, 2, 6 and 7 positions, respectively.
The top two players had the strongest performances of the day, as Greer swept Amanda Siebert 3–0 and Aziz beat Julie Cerullo 3–2. Cerullo was undefeated going into Saturday’s match.
“The silver lining of this loss is certainly how long we stuck in the matches,” Aziz said. “They were much stronger than they were in the scrimmages, and more fit too. But honestly, it was a couple of unlucky breaks that decided this match.”
Greer, who is currently ranked by the College Squash Association as the No. 6 player in the country, also recognized that the Tigers were a different team than the Elis saw a few months ago.
“Their mental attitude was stronger because they came to win and they were very determined in doing so,” Greer said. “We played just as well, if not better, than we have all year. [Ultimately,] I believe that it was a difference in courts and that home-court advantage had a lot to do with it.”
Other notable performances came from Alexandra Van Arkel ’12 and Alexandra Kerr ’12, who played at the No. 5 and 8 spots, respectively. Although Arkel and Kerr lost their matches 3–2, their teammates appreciated their effort and hard play.
“They stepped up yesterday after having not played as well against Trinity,” Greer said. “They played great in very hard matches, so it was nice to see them rebound and use these past two matches [Trinity and Princeton] as learning experiences.”
While the Bulldogs are now out of the running for an Ivy League championship, they still have a large portion of their schedule left to play, including a match against No. 1 Harvard on Feb. 13, followed by the Howe Cup and CSA Singles tournaments.
The Elis will look to gain some momentum prior to their match against Harvard, however, as they travel to Brown for their next match on Feb. 6.