The Yale women’s squash team crushed Brown on Saturday in less time than the bus ride from New Haven to Providence and back.
In their penultimate match before playing Harvard for the Ivy and national titles, the No. 1 Elis (10-0, 5-0 Ivy) cruised to a 9-0 victory over the No. 7 Bears (5-5, 1-5). The two-time defending national champions were in top form, giving up just one game in nine matches to extend their winning streak to 38 consecutive victories.
No. 2 Miranda Ranieri ’08 sat out Saturday’s match and continued to rest her pulled groin. She said she would start hitting again today and return to physical conditioning by the end of the week.
“It is looking like it’s getting better, but I’m still going to be taking some time off,” Ranieri said. “We are all individually taking care of our bodies so we’ll be as strong as we can when we do play Harvard in the nationals.”
Ranieri said other team members also have minor injuries, which is to be expected from playing so many matches in a season that is just three months long.
Captain Amy Gross ’06 said injured players are often hesitant to push themselves when warming up because they do not want to inflict further damage, but athletes are used to the wear and tear on their bodies from years of squash.
“There’s a fear of reining yourself in,” she said. “But we’ve all been playing long enough that I think we’re willing to work through it.”
The Eli women will focus on staying healthy as they enter the home stretch of their season. Next weekend will be the Elis’ first free weekend since they defeated Dartmouth on Jan. 14. But they will not have much time to rest, as the Harvard face-off is just 11 days away and the Howe Cup tournament begins two days later.
No. 2 Harvard defeated No. 4 Princeton, 7-2, yesterday afternoon to secure its standing with Yale at the top of the rankings. Although the Elis won against the Tigers by a slimmer margin, 6-3, last weekend, the Cantabs were upset by No. 3 Trinity that same day. Yale beat the Bantams, 5-4, on Jan. 25.
Ranieri said she thinks the Cantabs are a strong team, but one the Bulldogs are capable of defeating if they are healthy and focused.
“We are really optimistic,” she said. “I think we definitely have a stronger bottom of the ladder. We can potentially put up a good fight in each of the spots.”
Players said the match against the Bears was another tune-up in preparation for the Cantabs, similar to last Wednesday’s 9-0 shutout of Amherst.
Sarah Barenbaum ’08, who played at six-seed last weekend, said the additional practice has helped the Elis regroup before their biggest match of the season. She was concise about predicting the possibility of a third national championship.
“I think we’ll be able to do it,” Barenbaum said.