The women’s squash team started the heart of the season in Ivy League play this weekend with wins against No. 6 Cornell and No. 14 Columbia. The Bulldogs also defeated Colby and Williams earlier in the break with clean sweeps of 9–0.
In a crucial Ivy matchup, No. 2 Yale took down Cornell 6–3 and ruined the Big Red’s undefeated season. The Bulldogs’ play was patchy as they struggled with the adjustment to Cornell’s slower courts.
“With having two practices a day since returning to campus on Jan. 2, we were able to push each other to get where we needed to be for Cornell,” Anna Harrison ’15 said. “Beating such a strong opponent showed all of our hard work together.”
Millie Tomlinson ’14, ranked No. 2 in the nation, led Yale in the first spot as she beat her opponent 11–3, 11–6, 11–5.
In the second spot, No.6 Kim Hay ’14 fell in four games despite a promising start. Hay took the first game 11–8, but was unable to capitalize in the following three matches. With the scores tight (13–11, 11–6, 13–11), Hay fought until the end but could not add to the Bulldogs’ tally.
At No. 3 was Shihui Mao ’15, who battled back and forth to win a very close and well-deserved match. In a five-game contest, Mao and her opponent took turns winning, and Mao won the first, third and fifth games to eventually come out on top (11–8, 7–11, 12–10, 5–11, 12–10).
Captain Katie Ballaine ’13 fell at the No. 4 spot by deficits of 13–11, 11–5, 11–9.
In the fifth spot, No. 24 Gwen Tilghman ’14 bounced back from losses in the first two games (11–9, 12–10).
“The first two games of my match were close, but at the start of the third game I was able to change my game plan to play to my strengths and my opponent’s weaknesses,” Tilghman said.
By keeping her opponent in the back of the court through a combination of straight hits, tight rails and short hits, Tilghman was able to win most of the points. Her skill and mental power, combined with mistakes by her opponent, allowed her to win the match and put Yale up 3–2.
Lilly Fast ’14 won in the sixth spot after dropping the first game, but took the next three to add to the Bulldogs’ score sheet.
At No. 7, Issey Norman-Ross ’15 came out strong and took the first two games, but let up in the third game. To put the match away, Norman-Ross dominated the fourth game 11–4 in order to win the match.
In the eighth position, Anna Harrison ’15 took the first two games (11–6, 11–6), but then fell in the third and fourth. Harrison’s physical determination helped her capitalize in the fifth game, winning 11–5 and taking the match.
Though he was happy with the win, head coach Dave Talbott said his team was not consistent and did not play with its usual aggressiveness.
Hoping to remain at the top of the Ivy standings, the Bulldogs faced a competitive Columbia on Sunday. Displaying more confidence after their performance against Cornell, Yale showed no mercy in a 9–0 defeat of the Lions.
With Fast, Norman-Ross and Mao out of the lineup, the Bulldogs’ deep roster proved effective in this matchup.
Tomlinson and Hay stayed in their No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively. Captain Ballaine played in the third position, with Tilghman in fourth and Anna Harrison in fifth.
The Elis will host the No. 7 Stanford Cardinals on Jan. 18.
“The focus for the week will be on the team’s explosiveness, taking control of the front court and working on the confidence of their short game,” Talbott said.
There will be no shortage of motivation for the Bulldogs as they face Stanford, a top team coached by former coach Mark Talbott, brother of Dave Talbott.
“The team is off to a good start with a 5–0 record, 2–0 in the Ivy League, and the team has set its sights on an Ivy League championship and a national title,” Talbott said.
The Bulldogs will face Stanford this Friday at the Brady Squash Center at 3 p.m.