It came down to the very last match and the very last game, but it was Yale that ultimately prevailed.
Caroline Reiegeluth ’11 took the fifth game of her match against the Crimson’s Sarah Mumanachit for the match victory, 5–4, and Yale’s first Ivy League title in seven years. The win (14–0, 5–0 Ivy) capped an undefeated regular season for the No. 2 Elis (14–0, 5–0), dethroning last year’s Ivy champs, No. 1 Harvard (9–1, 5–1).
“This win was especially meaningful for the seniors,” captain Logan Greer ’11 said. “We’ve been working four years for this and it is amazing that we finally accomplished our goal of an Ivy League championship.”
The contest began and Yale got off to a quick start winning two of the first three matches.
Sarah Toomey’ 11 had a tough fought straight game victory at the No. 3 position. Toomey, a player who has had consistent strong performances this season, made use of shot variety and sped around the court to wear her opponent down.
“This was the perfect culmination of four years of work,” Toomey said. “The team showed incredible determination to pull out such an important win on the road.”
Playing away from home was not a difficult adjustment, according to Toomey. She said that there were a large number of Yale supporters and parents that neutralized the home court advantage for Harvard.
However, Harvard evened the overall score by winning two of the next three matches. Gwendoline Tilghman ’14 lost her first match of the season in four games. After a 12–10 win in the first game, she was unable to keep the score close for the remainder of the match.
Rhetta Nadas ’12 also lost her match in four games. After dropping the first game, Nadas won a marathon 19–17 second game. However, she ran out of steam and lost handily in the next two games.
Millie Tomlinson ’11 continued her dominant performance this season with a comfortable win at the No. 2 position to finish the regular season undefeated.
“She just played to her strengths and, after wearing her opponent down, forced her to make mistakes,” Greer said about Tomlinson’s match.
The next match featured two of the strongest players in women’s squash at the No. 1 position, No. 3 Greer and Harvard’s No. 1 Laura Gemmell. However, the contest quickly became lopsided, as Greer lost the first game 11–0. Gemmell continued her dominating performances in the next two sets, winning both, 11–6 and 11–8.
After Gemmell’s win, Harvard needed only one more match win to win the Ivy League title for the second consecutive year. But Yale would not be deterred.
The pressure of keeping Yale’s hopes alive fell on freshman Kimberley Hay ’14. She did not let the situation affect her game as she eased past Harvard’s June Tiong and won in straight games.
With the match tied at 4–4, Caroline Reigeluth ’11 took the court against Sarah Mumanachit in a match that would decide which team would be the Ivy League champion and take the No. 1 seed heading into the national championship tournament.
Reigeluth dropped the first game 6–11, but she came storming back to win the second and third games, 11–7 and 11–6.
“I knew I was the deciding match but I knew how hard the team was pulling for me,” Reigeluth said. “The support just reminded me to stick to my game plan and win it for the team. “
But Mumanachit would not give up and edged Reigeluth in the fourth game, 9–11. In the fifth game, the senior’s experience made the difference as she fought her way to an 11–7 win, giving her team their first Ivy League title in seven years.
“Ultimately it’s a team effort and it was just a coincidence that the last match came down to me,” Reigeluth said. “I am really happy that I was able to contribute but it took all 16 of us to win.”
The Elis will now be the top ranked team going into the Howe Cup this weekend at Princeton.