The No. 6 Yale women’s squash team defeated No. 10 Brown on Tuesday, leapt out to an undefeated 2–0 start to its season.
Aided by the return of Jen Davis ’18, who missed the previous match against Franklin & Marshall due to injury, the Bulldogs (2–0, 1–0 Ivy) handily defeated their Ancient Eight counterparts in their conference opener. While Helen Teegan ’20, one of Yale’s most promising freshmen, remained out with her own injury, depth was once again the story for the Elis, as the team swept its opponents 9–0 for the second straight match, dropping just two total games in the contest against the Bears (0–1, 0–1 Ivy).
“We’re excited about our prospects — this is a good start,” head coach Dave Talbott said. “Brown is going to be a solid team, and we won while only dropping two games, so we’ll see how we do against the rest of the Ivies.”
Strong finishes were the story of the night as Yale’s players were able to finish off individual games well against their opponents. The top players for the Bulldogs led the way: No. 1 Jenny Scherl ’17 decisively won her match, 11–7, 11–6, 11–5, and No. 2 Lucy Beecroft ’20 built upon her strong debut this weekend with an 11–6, 11–3, 11–8 victory over Scherl’s cousin and Brown senior Isabel Scherl.
No. 9 Madeline Tomlinson ’17 was able to stave off close competition in her third game, winning 13–11 to claim the match, and No. 7 Selena Maity ’18 won her second game 12–10 en route to a sweep of her own.
“We won a lot of those close games,” Talbott said. “We’re trying to play error-free, basic squash and make high-percentage plays, which I think is really helping us win these close ones.”
No. 3 Celine Yeap ’19 had the largest point differential of the evening, outscoring her Brown rival by a combined 23 points in three games. Playing on the same court, captain No. 4 Shiyuan Mao ’17 swept her match 11–3, 11–5, 11–8 while Emily Sherwood ’19 also had a lopsided win, scoring 21 more points than her opponent, fellow sophomore Hannah Safford, throughout all three games.
The only two individual games that the Bulldogs lost came during the third games for No. 5 Davis and No. 6 Jocelyn Lehman ’18. Despite their hiccups, both players were able to close out their matches in the ensuing fourth games, with Davis winning her decisive frame 11–4 and Lehman taking hers 11–5.
Yale has had Brown’s number for the past several years, sweeping the Bears in six out of the past seven matchups. The Elis will look to capitalize on a conference opening win before facing the rest of the Ivy League, which includes eight teams of the nation’s top 10 teams and three of the five teams ranked above Yale. Last year, the Elis finished 4–3 in conference play with a No. 5 national ranking.
“The team has been preparing really well for the past few months,” Sherwood said. “We’re ready to compete this winter season and hopefully take out some teams ranked above us.”
This match marks the Bulldogs’ last this calendar year, as the team will resume play against Wesleyan in early January. Yale will play three interconference matches before meeting its next Ivy team.
In February, the Bulldogs will face an eight-day stretch of matches that against top Ivy opponents, including No. 4 Princeton, No. 2 Penn and No. 1 Harvard. While success against these top-five opponents would likely mean a high standing in the Ancient Eight, Yale has its sights set beyond conference play.
“We’ve been training really hard, taking into account that we do have a shot at being top three at nationals,” Mao said. “I think it’s a very realistic goal, but right now we have to stay healthy and maintain our physique so that we can achieve our goal.”
The Bulldogs will continue their campaign on Jan. 7 at the Brady Squash Center against Wesleyan.