A late-season loss to a league rival virtually eliminating a team from the conference’s regular season championship usually translates into major disappointment. But the Yale women’s squash team isn’t sweating it.
“We’re disappointed, but we played well, so we’re happy,” captain Miranda Ranieri ’08 explained.
The No. 4 Bulldogs (9-2, 2-2 Ivy) traveled to New Jersey to battle No. 1 Princeton (4-1, 3-1 Ivy) on Saturday afternoon in what turned out to be one of the season’s tightest matches — a 6-3 loss that could have easily swung in the Bulldogs’ direction.
The Elis’ top three — Ranieri, Logan Greer ’11 and Sarah Toomey ’11 — all won their matches 3-0, but those proved to be lone victories for Yale. Princeton took the other six, two in epic fashion, and rebounded as a team from an upset loss against No. 2 Penn last Wednesday.
The Bulldogs found themselves with a great opportunity to pull off the upset but couldn’t find a way to capitalize. Two of the best opportunities were found in the No. 4 and 5 matches. Both Alia Aziz ’10 and Caroline Reigeluth ’11 lost epic matches by scores of 3-2. Aziz took the first game 9-7 but lost three of the next four to Emery Maine, and Reigeluth won the first two games before losing 9-2, 10-8, 9-0 to Kaitlen Sennatt to drop the match.
To some, this may seem like a unsatisfactory loss, but the team is taking it in stride. Several acknowledged that they were content with the way they performed.
“Obviously everyone was disappointed, but we’re happy with the way we played,” Toomey reiterated. “We can only play our best and I think we did.”
Even if they do finish fourth in the league — the spot they occupy now — the Elis still have a shot at winning at Nationals, the Howe Cup, when they are held at Princeton starting Feb. 22. The squad hopes to use the loss as way to learn and get ready to complete their ultimate goal of winning the National Championship. Not only was the actual play good preparation, but playing on Princeton’s courts was a sure advantage.
“The nationals are played at Princeton so it was good to get used to the courts,” Ranieri said. “The courts there are really hot and it was difficult to get used to them at first.”
The Bulldogs look to finish the season off on a high note with its two remaining matches against No. 9 Brown on Feb. 9 and No. 3 Harvard on Feb. 13.
When asked how she wants to see her collegiate career play out from here, Ranieri — the team’s captain and the No. 1-ranked player in the country — didn’t hesitate.
“[The ideal situation] would be to put a really good fight for the Howe Cup,” Ranieri said, “and winning it.”