The Yale women’s squash team pounded away at Harvard’s courts this weekend in a quick series of scrimmage matches that kept inter-Ivy tension high and signaled the shifting season in sports.

Yale entered Cambridge as the sixth seeded team in the Ivy League, and then defied expectations, placing third overall and scoring individual wins in several flights.

“I can’t remember the last time a tournament went so well for us,” Gina Wilkinson ’03 said.

Harvard placed first in Saturday’s team competition, and Princeton came in second.

Although Yale and Princeton did not square off this time, captain Miriam Fishman ’02 and the rest of the Bulldogs are optimistic about their chances against their Ancient Eight rival.

“I think we can take [Princeton] in January,” she said. “Cornell is [also] always one of our toughest rivals. We lost to them last year, both in the regular season and in the Howe Cup [the final tournament of the season]. Those were frustrating losses and decisively beating them in the first round, 7-2, was huge.”

Scores in the team competitions were determined by the outcomes of nine individual matches. Yale lost to Harvard 1-8, with Kate Sands ’02 slamming home Yale’s sole victory. The Bulldogs rallied back to beat Brown, 7-2. Brown would go on to lose to Princeton by the score of 5-4.

“It’s a good assumption that we would have had a close match with Princeton and perhaps gotten second place,” said Wilkinson.

The Sunday competitions for individual honors rewarded the Yale team in similar fashion for its prowess on the squash courts.

Fishman, Sands and Abbie McDonough ’04 all climbed out of early deficits to triumph in three straight matches. Meanwhile, Frances Ho ’05 toppled Harvard’s top freshman in a bruising three game match.

“It was a situation where opposing players were nervous when they saw a Yale name on their draw,” Fishman said.

Wilkinson and Ruth Kelley ’05 won their respective flights. In an intrasquad final, Lauren Doline ’05 placed second to Wilkinson in their flight.

“We are a very young team,” Wilkinson said, “and the freshmen performed so well. It was important for the team, especially the freshmen, to see what Ivy League competition is all about. Throughout the preseason I had thought that we were going to be a better team than last year, and it was great to have that expectation validated so solidly.”