In the first-ever battle of the sexes in the history of collegiate squash, the Eli women coasted to a 9-0 victory over the Stanford men Thursday in Palo Alto, Calif.
In the landmark contest, the Elis were able to win convincingly despite the absence of No. 3 starter Catherine McLeod ’07 and No. 5 starter Rachita Vora ’06, who were at home overseas. The Bulldogs’ top three seeds, Michelle Quibell ’06, Amy Gross ’06, and Frances Ho ’05, all won their matches 3-0. Captain Devon Dalzell ’04, who plays in the No. 8 spot, was the only Eli to go to five games, eventually winning 3- 2.
Before the season began, head coach Mark Talbott approached Stanford head coach Richard Elliott about the possible contest between the Eli women and the Cardinal men. Elliott agreed and the stage was set for the historic match.
For Dalzell the difference between playing against men was clear.
“It was the toughest match I’ve had this year,” Dalzell said. “They get a lot of shots that would have been too far for most girls.”
Talbott noted the difference as well, saying the men hit harder and ran faster. But he added that his team had better skills.
“Squash is the only sport in college that women could beat the men because it’s a skill sport,” Talbott said. “In any other sport men [would] overpower.”
Talbott was thrilled not just with the results, but with the historical significance as well.
“It’s a great thing for the sport, for the women to play the men, it’s incredible,” Talbott said. “It was exciting being a part of a historic match.”
The Elis had nothing but high praise and respect for their opponents. Gross said she didn’t feel any condescension in the Cardinal’s demeanor.
“They weren’t cocky,” Gross said. “They didn’t look down on us because we were girls.”
Talbott said he thought the Stanford men were very composed in defeat.
“They were very competitive, yet they were very gracious about it,” Talbott said. “The Stanford team couldn’t have been better sports about it.”
Stanford opened its varsity men’s squash program in 1999 when a small group of undergraduates started up the team. Since then the Stanford squash program has grown in number and success, and the Cardinal men entered this season ranked No. 20 in the nation out of 44 teams. But the Cardinal was still no match for the Elis, who came into the season ranked No. 3 in the nation behind No. 1 Trinity and No. 2 Harvard. In the latest ranking Yale has moved ahead of Harvard, and now sits at No. 2 behind the Ephs.
The Elis will take the court again this weekend when they take on No. 6 Dartmouth, No. 10 Bates, No. 9 Bowdoin and No. 13 Cornell at Brady Squash Center.
[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”18599″ ]