Entering yesterday’s Ivy League championship match against Harvard (7-1, 6-0 Ivy), the women’s squash team (8-2, 5-1) felt like it had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Harvard, however, was confident in its role as favorite after its 9-0 win over Yale in last weekend’s Howe Cup.

The Crimson’s confidence proved well-founded, as Harvard eased by the Bulldogs for the second time in five days, winning 8-1 in the Payne Whitney Gymnasium.

“It obviously puts a slight damper on the season since it is Harvard and the Ivy title,” said team captain Miriam Fishman ’02. “But I’m proud of how far our team has come.”

Yale got off to a slow start as No. 2 Devon Dalzell ’04 and No. 8 Lindsay Schroll ’05 suffered quick 3-0 defeats. No. 4 Gina Wilkinson ’03 fought back but fell to Carlin Wing 9-6, 9-3, 9-6.

Playing in her last team match, Katherine Sands ’02 briefly drew even as she won the second game 9-3 but then succumbed to Ella Witcher in four games.

At one point in the second round of matches it looked like Yale might pull off the upset as they led in three of the five matches. But the Crimson proved too much for the Bulldogs, especially at the top, as both No. 1 Frances Ho ’05 and No. 3 Lauren Doline ’05 fell 3-0 and Harvard clinched the match.

At the bottom of the ladder the Bulldogs continued to fight as No. 5 Sarah Coleman ’05 was edged in four games.

The most impressive performances came from No. 7 Abigail McDonough ’04 and No. 9 Ruth Kelley ’05. McDonough nearly pulled out her match but fell in the fifth game 11-9. while Kelley, who took Talbot’s advice to stay calm but play aggressively, posted the lone Eli victory, winning 3-0.

“This was my best match by far since I’ve been out with injury,” Kelley said. “Before the match I didn’t get too psyched or pumped up. I kept calm so I wouldn’t waste too much energy.”

Despite the loss, the team was still extremely happy with its season.

“I’m really happy the way things ended up,” Wilkinson said. “I’m so proud of the girls lower down the ladder. They played really well.

Talbot, who shares his player’s feelings, looks forward to a bright future.

“[The players] already exceeded my expectations so we won’t be disappointed by this result,” he said. “This team is headed in the right direction, we can build on this, and next year we will be even better.”