It was the perfectly timed confidence-booster the women’s squash team needed.

Wednesday, the No. 7 Bulldogs, (5-2, 0-2 Ivy) crushed No. 12 Amherst (8-6) 9-0, breaking the Jeffs’ three-game winning streak while also redeeming a tough loss against Cornell last weekend.

“They went out really hard,” head coach Mark Talbott said. “In the long run, the Cornell loss is going to help us. Everybody is really responsive, really pulling things together now. If there’s one thing I learned through competition, it’s not to take anyone lightly. The team had a really good attitude. I’m proud of them.”

Yale won eight out of nine matches 3-0, allowing the Jeffs to gain only two games from a total of 13 matches. Among the top nine, Amherst’s Mary Francis Ford was the only opponent to force a fourth game against No. 9 player Miriam Fishman ’02 before falling 9-5, 6-9, 9-5, 9-4.

The Bulldogs’ toughness contrasted with third-ranked Brown’s victory over Amherst. Despite the loss, the Jeffs were able to force four matches to four games.

This decisive win comes for the Bulldogs at an opportune time. After the Constable Individual Tournament at Princeton this weekend, the Elis will face three straight Ivy opponents: Brown, Princeton and Dartmouth.

“Everyone was determined and played their best,” Abigail McDonough ’04 said. “While the match was not much of a struggle, it increased our confidence and will help us prepare for the upcoming weeks and the Howe Cup.”

Yet last Saturday’s motivating loss against Cornell was also especially timely, serving as a wake-up call to the tightness of competition within the league this season. Up until that point, the Bulldogs hadn’t been challenged by such teams as to show the extent of change in the league since last year, a change due to the influx of strong freshmen and the graduation of seniors. These changes served to equal out the level of play among the teams.

This season, anything seems possible. Earlier in the season, the Brown Bears, who finished seventh in the Ivy league last season, defeated the Princeton team which finished second.

Brown and Dartmouth, like Yale, are very solid across the board, so the Elis have limited expectations. Princeton, having lost some key players last season, is a weaker team this year. But their top players still include Julia Beaver and Meredith Quick, whom Talbott says are a three-time intercollegiate champion and a top collegiate player, respectively.

This weekend, women’s captain Catherine Fiederowicz ’01 and Devon Dalzell ’04 will participate in the Constable division of the individual tournament, which includes only the top 20 players in the league. Overall, 10 players from Yale will play in the tournament.

“The individual tournament will allow everyone to play games at their level, which we don’t always get during match play,” Colleen Terry ’02 said. “The tournament is divided according to skill level, which is more beneficial for everyone. It gives you more of a chance to get into your game, which will be good for our tough matches coming up.”