The No. 5 Yale women’s squash team took to the road over the weekend for a pair of matches, dominating No. 13 Drexel on Jan. 27 and No. 12 George Washington on Jan. 28.
The Bulldogs (10–1, 2–0 Ivy) left no doubt against the Dragons (4–10, Ind.) in Friday’s affair, emerging victorious in every match and only allowing their competitor to take a single game in the 9–0 blowout. The following evening, the Elis dismantled the Colonials (4–7, Ind.) in another 9–0 route. But against George Washington, Yale did not surrender a single game, winning 27 straight to culminate the impressive road weekend performance.
“I thought the team played very well this weekend,” No. 1 Jenny Scherl ’17 said. “We have been traveling for the last couple of weeks and to maintain the level of focus that we did was crucial going into this week. Princeton and Penn are always two of our most contentious matches and it will require serious tenacity from the top on down in order to beat one or both of those teams.”
Fresh off of a hard-fought upset over Stanford last weekend in Palo Alto, California, Friday’s match against Drexel served as an opportunity for the Bulldogs to continue their momentum and showcase their depth. The match was characterized by consistent performances from all team members.
Scherl, who was named the Harrow Sports College Squash Player of the Week on Jan. 26 for her performance last weekend, registered a smooth victory in the one spot over Drexel’s Ryan Morgan, conceding only 12 points. Although virtually all of the matches resulted in semi-comfortable victories for the Elis, No. 2 Lucy Beecroft ’20 won a hard-fought battle, escaping by two points each game, and No. 3 Celine Yeap ’19 needed a fourth game to best her opponent.
Following Friday’s victory, the Bulldogs traveled 141 miles to Washington, D.C., looking to extend their new winning streak to three matches. The Elis commanded the competition from the get-go, shutting out George Washington not only in matches, but in games as well.
Yale received strong performances from top to bottom, including many lopsided victories. Highlights included Beecroft’s victory in the two spot which lasted a competition-long 69 points, Yeap’s blowout of the Colonial’s Mary Jo Mahfood by a 33–12 margin in the three hole and comfortable victories by Selena Maity ’18 and Jessica Yacobucci ’20 at seven and eight, respectively. The match marked the fourth time all season Yale defeated its opponent in the minimum 27 games, and the seventh shutout for the Bulldogs.
Both wins have instilled confidence in the Elis, something they pointed to as a key for impending matches against No. 2 Penn and No. 4 Princeton this weekend.
“This past weekend definitely helped build our confidence in both our shots and fitness and I think that is important given the [magnitude] of the matches coming up this weekend,” captain and No. 4 Shiyuan Mao ’17 said. “I think confidence will be the main focus of our practices. We’ve done our due diligence in the fall and early winter and now we just need to put it into play.”
Entering the upcoming weekend against Princeton and Penn, the Bulldogs remain tied with Harvard at the top of the Ancient Eight standings. Though Penn and Princeton both have interleague losses, their rank ahead of Yale in the national standings renders them a difficult challenges and an opportunity for the Elis to effectively posture themselves for national tournament seeds with victories.
“We are expecting very tough matches against Princeton and Penn next weekend,” Yacobucci said. “We must be ready to play hard throughout the entirety of our matches to win.”
Yale returns to action at home on Friday, Feb. 4 against Princeton at 1 p.m.