HARTFORD — Last year, the Yale women’s squash team wrested the Howe Cup from two-time defending champion Trinity in a hard-fought match. On Wednesday, the Bulldogs served notice that the Bantams will have a hard time trying to take it back later this year.

The top-ranked Bulldogs (7-0, 3-0 Ivy) scored a decisive 7-2 victory over No. 2 Trinity, which fell to 3-1.

Although the Bantams scored a pair of upsets over captain Frances Ho ’05 and two-time national champion Michelle Quibell ’06, the Bulldogs were clearly in control of the event. Six Yale women shut out their respective opponents, while Amy Gross ’06 pulled out a victory over Larissa Stephenson in a 3-2 thriller.

The Bulldogs said their hard work and preparation for Wednesday’s match-up enabled them to topple the Bantams.

“We got the results that we wanted and worked so hard to achieve,” Miranda Ranieri ’08 said.

The Bulldogs, under head coach Dave Talbott, have consistently played head and shoulders above their competitors this year. This talented squad, which boasts the nation’s three top-ranked players and five of the top 25, cruised to 9-0 victories over each of its first six opponents before facing off against Trinity.

“I’m lucky to have inherited such a great team,” said Talbott. “We’re just trying not to screw it up.”

Several players said the venue of this year’s victory, which came at Trinity’s Kellner Center in Hartford, made the win even sweeter.

“It was nice to beat a really good team on their home court,” Gross said. “They have the whole crowd and everybody is cheering for them. I’m very proud of us for coming out with a win.”

The Bulldogs are now set to begin a three-game homestand on Saturday against No. 3 Princeton (5-0, 2-0 Ivy), which has also started this season in impressive fashion. The Tigers came out of the gate strongly with a 4-0 weekend to start the year and followed that up with an 8-1 trouncing of Brown.

Despite Yale’s impressive win yesterday, the team pledged not to take anything for granted against the Tigers.

“[Princeton is] a very deep team, so it’s not a sure win,” Ho said. “We’re going to practice hard the next few days and we hope to be sharp on Saturday.”

Wednesday’s victory marks the second consecutive year Yale has prevailed over Trinity. Last year, the Bulldogs’ 5-4 upset of the Bantams was part of an undefeated season that delivered to Yale the Ivy League championship, the national championship and the Howe Cup. After an off-season that saw the squad retain all of its top nine players and add some promising freshmen, the Yale women are keeping their eyes on the prize.

“It’s a lot harder to defend your title than to win it for the first time,” said Gross. “We are the team to beat.”

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