It was a challenging weekend for the Yale women’s squash team, as the Bulldogs ended their season by winning one match and losing two others en route to earning a fourth-place finish at the Howe Cup. The tournament, the national team championships for college women’s squash, was hosted at Yale’s Brady Squash Center.
The fifth-seeded Elis (10–6, 3–3 Ivy) defeated No. 4 ranked Princeton in the quarterfinals by a score of 6–3 Friday afternoon, but then lost to No. 1 Harvard in the semifinals Saturday and No. 2 Trinity in the consolation match Sunday.
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The Elis had lost to Princeton (9–4, 4–2) by a score of 5–4 during the regular season, so Friday’s win against the Tigers was encouraging for the team, captain Alia Aziz ’10 said.
“Beating Princeton was a testament to how hard we have been training this past month,” Aziz said. “It was really great to get the victory, especially since the referees made some questionable calls. Nonetheless, we were able to battle through the distractions and earn a solid victory heading into Saturday’s match against Harvard.”
But top-seeded Harvard was a tougher opponent for the Elis, as the undefeated Crimson (12–0, 6–0) won 7–2. Yale’s only wins came at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots from Aziz and Sarah Toomey ’11, respectively. Aziz defeated Harvard’s Nirasha Gurgue 3–2 (11–8, 11–13, 6–11, 11–8, 11–8), while Toomey beat June Tiong with a dominant 3–0 performance (11–4, 11–7, 11–8).
The rest of the Crimson lineup proved why Harvard deserved the top ranking, as the Cantabs only dropped two individual games throughout the remaining seven spots. The Crimson, who also did not drop a single game in the opening round of the tournament against Williams, went on to defeat the No. 3 Penn Quakers for the national championship on Sunday.
“Harvard had a better and deeper team out there,” head coach David Talbott said. “We played better against them this weekend than we did during the regular season, but I feel like we just ran out of steam.”
Less than 24 hours later, the Elis were back on the court Sunday afternoon to face No. 2 Trinity (16–2). During the regular season, the Bantams defeated the Bulldogs 5–4 on Jan. 20. This past weekend’s match was not as close, as Trinity won 6–3, putting an end to the Elis’ season and leaving Yale ranked No. 4 team in the nation.
“We finished today with a clear sense of what we need to do in the offseason in order to be a national contender next year,” Ballaine said. “It has been a great building year, and we are happy to finish the tournament in a higher spot than we were seeded.”
The Elis registered victories from Logan Greer ’11, Toomey and Katie Ballaine ’13 at the No. 1, 3 and 6 spots, respectively. Greer defeated the No. 1 ranked player in the nation, Trinity’s Pamela Hathway, by a score of 3–2. The fourth game of the match was the most intense: Despite being down 2–1 in the match and realizing the Elis had already lost the overall match as a team, Greer fought for a 13–11 win.
“Logan played great today,” Talbott said. “It was definitely a breakthrough performance for her, and I really think she has a chance to win the intercollegiate tournament next weekend.”
Although the season has ended for the Elis as a team, six individual members of the squad — Greer, Aziz, Toomey, Rhetta Nadas ’12, Alexandra Van Arkel ’12 and Ballaine — will participate in the College Squash Association’s Individual Championships starting Friday at Trinity.