After dominating Williams 9-0 on Dec. 3 at the Brady Squash Center, the Yale women’s squash team was more than ready to take on the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia this past Saturday. But after sitting on a broken-down bus 30 minutes outside of New Haven for five hours in the midst of the first snow storm of the winter, it became clear that the Elis would have to wait to face Penn another day.

Although a definitive make-up date has not be set, the Penn match may be rescheduled for the weekend of Jan. 31-Feb. 1, when the Bulldogs are slated to travel to Princeton.

In the Bulldogs’ season opener against Williams on Dec. 3, Yale head coach Mark Talbott sat his three best players in order to give others an opportunity to compete. The Elis still coasted, winning 9-0 with all nine players winning their matches 3-0. The closest the Ephs ever came to winning a game was at the number two spot, where Yale’s Rachita Vora ’06 defeated Clare Whipple by a score of 9-7 in the first game. Vora went on to win the next two games by larger margins — 9-4 and 9-0 respectively. Williams managed to score five points or more in only three games out of the 27 played.

Michelle Quibell ’06, Amy Gross ’06 and Catherine McCleod ’07 all sat out the first match of the season in order to make way for other team members who do not get the opportunity to play as much in the middle of the season. Nicola Shiels ’07 won her first regular-season match at the six spot with scores of 9-3, 9-2 and 9-2.

Before the Williams match began, Talbott told the team to take it for granted that the Elis were supposed to be the better team. From her four years of experience, captain Devon Dalzell ’04 knew what Talbott was talking about.

“It’s harder to play people who are weaker sometimes,” Dalzell said.

Fellow senior Abbie McDonough ’04 said the team played hard despite the weaker opponent.

“Even though we felt we were better, everybody put everything they had into it,” McDonough said.

Dalzell said that no matter the opponent, the first match is always a challenge.

“It was the first match,” Dalzell said. “Some people were nervous.”

But the Elis were able to quickly calm any anxiety they had about their first match.

Along with Shiels, this was the first collegiate match for freshmen Lauren McCrery ’07 and Kate Rapisarda ’07. McDonough gave high praise to the freshmen in their first match as Bulldogs.

“These [freshmen] are really experienced players,” McDonough said. “They know how it works. It was not hard to incorporate them into team play.”

Quibell, Gross and McCleod will return to the lineup for the Bulldogs’ next match, which is against Stanford on Jan. 8 in California. When asked if she was worried about such a long break between matches, Gross said she was unconcerned.

“We’ll continue training over break,” Gross said. “I think we’ll be fine. We’ll keep working out. We’ll stay fit.”

Gross said the depth of experience on the team was the biggest reason she was not worried about getting rusty. If the results of the Williams match are any indication, the women’s squash team has little to be worried about and a lot to look forward to.

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