The No. 5 women’s squash team (11–4, 4–3 Ivy) capped its regular season with a weekend split, routing No. 11 Dartmouth (5–8, 1–6) on Saturday, 9–0, before succumbing to undefeated No. 1 Harvard (12–0, 7–0) the next day 0–9, in the team’s final match before Nationals.
Much of the weekend went as expected for the Bulldogs, as they were both heavy favorites and clear underdogs for the two matches. Their match against the Big Green was a dominant showing; only one of the nine individual matches went over three games. However, the Elis’ face-off with Harvard was lopsided in the other direction, though Yale did take two matches to four games each.
Yale finishes in fourth place in the Ivy League. The women will now have just under two weeks’ rest before the Howe Cup in late February.
“I think the team came out very strongly this weekend. The Harvard team is stronger in person than they are on paper, but we managed to win some games and keep them on their toes,” No. 1 Jenny Scherl ’17 said. “We are looking forward to postseason play and getting another shot at taking down Princeton in the first round of the Howe Cup, and our fight this weekend showed it was possible. While it’s bitter, the seniors are looking for one final win on our way out.”
The Bulldogs continued their seasonlong trend of overpowering lower-ranked teams, having not lost to a team ranked No. 5 or lower all year. They continued to take care of business when Dartmouth came to town for Yale’s final home match.
The Elis were especially bolstered by their senior members, though they displayed great depth across the board. Scherl, who has been integral for the team, took her match in a quick 11–8, 11–8, 11–4 decision. Fellow seniors No. 9 Madeline Tomlinson ’17 and captain and No. 4 Shiyuan Mao ’17 also swept their opponents. During the seniors’ four years at Yale, the Elis have not conceded a single match to Dartmouth, sweeping the Big Green every year since 2012.
An especially impressive match on the day was No. 2 Lucy Beecroft’s ’20 victory, in which she held Dartmouth’s Julia Herman to just six points while putting up 33 herself. No. 5 Jen Davis ’18 played the only four-game match, dropping the third set 9–11, but taking the rest by solid margins as the rest of the team did its part in securing a decisive triumph.
“Everyone knows what they should be working on individually and as a team. We will still do our very best for the [rest of the] season,” No. 3 Celine Yeap ’19 said.
Traveling to Cambridge to take on the Crimson, the Bulldogs entered as major underdogs to a Harvard squad that has not lost a match all year and is the heavy favorite to secure its third consecutive national title.
The Crimson swept Yale’s top six spots, 3–0, though there were some close games including Scherl’s. The senior was able to score 24 points off Sabrina Sobhy, the nation’s third-ranked player. Tomlinson and No. 7 Emily Sherwood ’19 pushed their matches to four games, with Sherwood taking a 13–11 win in her third game. However, Harvard’s overall team strength was too much for the Elis, who were shut out for only the second team this season.
Though the loss marks Yale’s third in their last four matches, all to higher-ranked opponents, the team looks to be in good shape heading into tournament play. After starting the season ranked sixth, the No. 5 Bulldogs will most likely face No. 4 Princeton in the first round of the eight-team Howe Cup, a squad they lost to 4–5 last week.
“Even though we had a few losses the last couple weekends, I think the team is looking good going into nationals in a couple weeks,” Jessica Yacobucci ’20 said. “I think, especially against teams like Princeton and Stanford that we went 5–4 with, we have confidence that we can beat them, and are excited to play them again.”
Yale’s 11–4 finish matches their regular season record from last year, when they also were ranked fifth and lost to No. 4 Trinity in the initial round of the Howe Cup.