The Bulldogs’ deep roster showcased its talent Wednesday evening with a 9-0 clean sweep of the No. 9 Brown Bears (11-5, 1-4 Ivy).
The No. 5 Elis (10-3, 3-2 Ivy) made a definitive statement to finish out the last week of Ivy League regular season play and redeem themselves after dropping their last three matches to top-5 opponents: No. 1 Princeton, No. 3 Penn and No. 4 Trinity. Out of contention for the Ivy League title, the Elis will use the remaining Ivy matchups against Dartmouth and Harvard as preparation for the National Championship.
In their contest against the Bears, the Bulldogs were without Shihui Mao ’15, usually No. 3 in the lineup, and Issey Norman-Ross ’15, usually No. 6, who were resting for the upcoming weekend, as they both had grueling matches versus Penn and Princeton.
“Everyone moved up in the lineup for this match because rest was needed, as we still have two huge matches to play later in the week [against Dartmouth and Harvard],” Nina Kempner ’15 said.
Even without two critical players, the cohesiveness of the Elis was palpable as the team displayed confidence in the frontcourt and forced errors throughout. In the first spot for Yale was Millie Tomlinson ’14, No. 2 nationally, who handily won her match in three games. Captain Katie Ballaine ’13 played in the second position, also winning in three games. Lilly Fast ’14 played up a spot at No. 3 due to Mao’s absence, as did Gwen Tilghman ’14 at No. 4. Both Fast’s and Tilghman’s composure and confidence forced their opponents to dive and lunge around the court.
Playing in the fifth position was Anna Harrison ’15, who added to the Elis’ tally after topping her opponent in four games. After dropping the first game 11-9, Harrison came out and dominated, winning the second game 11-3. The texture on her hits and the placement of her shots proved too much for Brown’s Isabel Pitaro, as she went on to take the match with scores of 11-4 in the third game and 11-5 in the fourth.
“After losing the first game, I knew I had to change my game plan. [Pitaro] had really good hands, so I focused on keeping the ball deep and not letting her get in front of me to drop,” Harrison said.
The Elis are in a three-way tie for third in the Ivy League with Cornell and Penn. Undefeated Princeton (9-0, 5-0 Ivy) appears to have a lock on the Ivy League lead with Harvard (10-1, 4-1 Ivy) in second place. Yale has two key matches left to play: against Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend.
“Dartmouth will be competitive, but Harvard will be the real challenge for us. However, we have been working hard and will be ready to give it our all come Sunday,” Ballaine said. “This Sunday’s match may be our toughest one yet, but it will give us the physical and mental preparation we need for nationals the following weekend.”
Barring weather delays by the snowstorm forecasted to hit the East Coast on Friday, the play concludes with the Dartmouth Big Green visiting the Brady Squash Center on Friday at noon. On Sunday, the Elis will travel to Cambridge to play the rival No. 2 Harvard Crimson.