For the second straight year, the No. 6 Yale women’s squash team swept No. 10 Brown on Tuesday afternoon, extending its record to 3–0 for the regular season.
In their first Ivy match of the regular season, the Bulldogs (2–0, 1–0 Ivy) dominated their Ancient Eight counterparts without dropping a match. With captain and No. 8 Jen Davis ’18 and No. 9 Emily Sherwood ’19 fully recovered from their injuries, depth was the story of the day for the Elis, as they swept their opponents 9–0 for the second straight match, dropping just three games against the Bears.
“It was a great first Ivy League match, and winning 9–0 against Brown shows our potential for the season,” Sherwood said. “They’re a deep team, so us winning so definitively is great for our confidence.”
Yale’s record against Brown in recent years has been quite successful, with the Elis sweeping the Bears in seven out of the past eight matchups. The Elis will hope to continue the momentum gained from this conference-opening win, before moving on to the rest of their league slate.
The top players for the Bulldogs led the way, continuing their strong regular season play — No. 1 Lucy Beecroft ’20 decisively won her match, 11–8, 11–4, 11–5, and No. 2 Celine Yeap ’19 secured an 11–4, 11–7, 11–9 victory. No. 3 Helen Teegan ’21 trounced her opponent 11–7, 11–-2, 11––6 to claim her match.
“It was really good for me and the team to get such a solid win to open up Ivy League play,” Teegan said. “Our whole lineup did well and it has given us confidence as we head into our January matches.”
In the fourth position, Aishwarya Bhattacharya ’21 struggled, dropping a tight second game, but rebounded from the setback and finished with two strong games to win 11–6, 10–12, 11–5, 11–8. Fellow first years Riya Mital ’21 and Alexis Lazor ’21 performed well in their first Ivy match as well, with Lazor achieving the largest point differential of the night, outscoring Brown’s Hannah Stafford by 20 points.
Having three first years in the regular lineup is a rare occurrence and bodes well for the team’s future. Collectively, the three players have lost just once in matches with their three regular season opponents thus far.
“[We] played a very solid and complete match against Brown,” coach Dave Talbott said. “This win and this past weekend showed [how] this team, with three new freshmen in the lineup, good senior leadership and the hard work these past three months, will compete for the league title.”
Returning from the stress fracture that robbed her of the beginning of the season, Davis had a marathon of a match, ultimately prevailing 4–11, 11–5, 6–11, 11–7, 11–4. Sherwood returned with a vengeance at the ninth position as well, scoring 11–4, 11–6, 11–4.
This match marks the Bulldogs’ last of 2017; the team will recharge its batteries until resuming play in early January. Yale will next play two consecutive matches in Massachusetts against Amherst and Williams before taking on its next Ivy opponent, No. 5 Penn. The match is expected to be contentious, with several players saying that defeating the Quakers remains one of their top goals of the regular season after suffering a 5–4 loss at the Ivy Scrimmages.
After competing against Penn, the Bulldogs will host No. 3 Princeton, another formidable rival that the Bulldogs hope these early wins have prepared them for. The following two weeks, Yale will host the three remaining teams that currently surpass it in the national rankings, No. 2 Trinity, No. 4 Stanford and No. 1 Harvard. Though success against these top-five opponents would likely mean a high standing in the Ancient Eight, Yale is looking beyond conference play and hopes to make a statement at the national championships.
“We’ve been training really hard this year, and we definitely believe that we can ultimately achieve a top-three spot in the national rankings this year,” Davis said.
The Bulldogs will continue their campaign on Jan. 7 at Amherst College.
Serena Cho | firstname.lastname@example.org