After a hard loss the previous weekend, the women’s squash team bounced back in a big way on Saturday.
The No. 5 Bulldogs (9-3) dominated the No. 9 Bears (3-8) in a 9-0 shutout at the Brady Squash Center on Saturday. As hundreds of high school squash players in attendance for the U.S. High School Team Championships looked on, the Elis battled through the heat of the crowds and came out having dropped just three games in the victory.
“The match, with the backdrop of the U.S. High School Nationals, was chaotic and yet really great for the sport, in the sense that two levels of the sport collided,” captain Tara Wadhwa ‘09 said. “That rarely happens.”
Aly Kerr ’12 agreed. “It was a little hectic with all the high-schoolers around,” she said, “but I think it was a great opportunity for them to see a college match.”
Playing at No. 2, Sarah Toomey ’11 handled Bears senior Breck Haynes with relative ease, taking the first games 9-2, 9-1. Haynes rallied in the third game, but Toomey was able to meet the challenge and came out with a 9-6 victory to take her match in three.
Meanwhile at No. 3, Alia Aziz ’10 took a narrow loss in her first game against Brown’s Laura Pyne, falling 10-8. However, she was unfazed by the defeat and proceeded to win the next three in quick succession, 9-3, 9-0, 9-3. Both Rhetta Nadas ’12 and Carolyn Reigeluth ’11, playing at Nos. 4 and 5, respectively, took their matches without dropping a game. Reigeluth even shut out her opponent, Brown freshman Nikoo Fadaifard, in two of the three games.
At No. 7, Wadhwa notched some of the most impressive scoring of the day. Facing Brown junior Kali Schellenberg, Wadhwa effortlessly seized control of the match with her first 9-0 shutdown, and she never relinquished it. After taking the second game 9-3, she wrapped up the faceoff neatly with a 9-1 victory in the third to give Yale the point. Kerr snagged her match in three as well, turning in a solid 9-5, 9-0, 9-3 performance.
Logan Greer ’11, who led the Bulldogs in the No. 1 slot, took her first two games 9-3, 9-6, and seemed to be headed that way in the third when she climbed to a big lead early on. But her opponent, Bears senior Charlotte Steel, battled back, inching up point by point before pulling ahead 8-7. Greer was not about to give in, though, and after stopping Steel in her tracks, she regrouped and eked out a 10-8 victory.
Wrapping up the day was No. 9 Katharine Ettinger’s ’10 nail-biter of a match with Brown junior Sarah Roberts. The advantage seemed at first to belong to Roberts, who took the first game 9-7, but it wasn’t long before Ettinger retaliated, snagging the next two games 9-4, 9-0. The danger wasn’t over yet, however, and things got shaky as Roberts pulled out another 9-7 win in the fourth, leaving the score knotted at two.
But Ettinger came through in the clutch. Faced with a tie, she proved her mettle and wrapped up the day with a bang, steamrolling Roberts in the fifth and final game with a score of 9-0.
“As a team, we played well across the board,” Wadhwa said. “We had a couple close matches that we were able to pull out, which was great as those players focused on particular strategies to earn their win.”
Added Kerr: “I think everyone was very focused going into the match, and the results reflected that.”
On Wednesday, the Bulldogs will travel to No. 2 Harvard (7-1) in their first away match in three weeks. The Crimson, who are second in the Ivy League standings, are coming off a heartbreaking 5-4 loss to Ivy leader No. 1 Princeton (10-0) on Sunday in which five of the nine matchups went to five games before the winners were decided. The match is the Bulldogs’ last scheduled before the Howe Cup begins on Friday.