The No. 6 Yale women’s squash team kicked off its 2017–18 season with consecutive victories in Pennsylvania, one over No. 9 Drexel and another over No. 18 Franklin & Marshall.

The Elis demolished the Dragons on Friday in Philadelphia, scoring an 8–1 win, with first years Riya Mital ’21 and Alexis Lazor ’21 picking up their first collegiate wins. Yale headed west to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the following day, where they crushed Franklin & Marshall in a 9–0 sweep. The Bulldogs did not surrender a single game to the Diplomats, equaling their stellar performance from last year and continuing a winning streak against Franklin & Marshall that dates to 1988.

“Winning 8–1 against Drexel was an awesome result against a team that has a lot of strong players,” said Emily Sherwood ’19 said, who won the team’s most improved award last year. “This weekend definitely showed us what our potential for the season is, and I think we’re really excited for the 2018 matches.”

Coming off a respectable fourth-place finish at the Ivy League scrimmages, the Elis’ weekend play was an opportunity to show off their preseason training, as well as to gain experience before upcoming matches against Ivy rivals, including Brown and Penn. Both events featured strong play from returning players and first years alike.

Battling from Yale’s first spot, All-American Lucy Beecroft ’20 took down Drexel’s Anna Hughes in dominant fashion in three games, winning the first game 11–2. In an exciting duel, No. 2 Celine Yeap ’19 started off strong against Hughes’ sister, Hayley Hughes, winning the first two games. This was followed by two losses, but Yeap eventually clenched the win in the final game with an 11–7 score.

“Celine had a great win at No. 2 against Drexel, where she stayed focused and stuck with her game plan to win in five games,” captain Jen Davis ’18 said.

Mital and Lazor had similar paths to victory against their Drexel opponents: They lost their first two games but followed those up with three consecutive triumphs to win in four games.

Helen Teegan ’20 won her match against Drexel’s third player, Ryan Morgan, in four games. The only Bulldog to fall to a Dragon opponent was Aishwarya Bhattacharya ’21, playing in the fourth spot, who lost a close match after four games.

“Our wins this weekend were a great way to start the season and get us ready for our match against Brown on Tuesday,” Teegan said. “Everyone stepped up and it’s given us a lot of confidence.”

At Yale’s match on Saturday with Franklin & Marshall, Beecroft found herself in a lengthy showdown against Sherilyn Yang in the first game, ultimately beating her opponent 17–15. She followed up with two more wins to secure the match.

Returning to the court over the weekend after preseason injuries were Davis — who recently recovered from a stress fracture — and Sherwood. Davis easily defeated Drexel’s Rebecca Low and Franklin & Marshall’s Katherine Anderson, allowing the latter to register only three points across three games. Similarly, Sherwood defeated Julia Beaven while yielding just four points over the course of three stellar games.

“It was great to get back on the court and play matches to get my confidence back,” Davis said.

The Elis will face several more challenging opponents this season, with all Ivy rivals ranked in the top 10 in the country, allowing ample opportunity to improve upon their No. 6 national ranking.

The Bulldogs will take on No. 11 Brown in Providence on Tuesday for their first Ivy League match of the regular season.

Alex Reedy | alex.reedy@yale.edu