The No. 5 Yale women’s squash team emerged from a crucial conference weekend with a pair of wins to secure its hold on third place in the league standings.
The Bulldogs entered the weekend in a rut, having dropped three of their last four games, including an 8–1 beatdown at the hands of No. 1 Princeton. But facing off against two teams nipping at their heels in the standings, the Bulldogs stood tall and edged No. 6 Columbia 5–4 on Saturday before smashing No. 8 Cornell 9–0 on Sunday, despite the absence of No. 3 Helen Teegan ’21.
“The matches this weekend were a great opportunity to keep us on track for nationals,” captain and No. 7 Jen Davis ’18 said. “Everyone stepped up and played at a high level, and we’re going to build on this over the next two weeks.”
In a tight match against Columbia, Yale demonstrated its depth by besting Columbia in matches at the bottom portion of the roster despite faltering at the top. The Bulldogs’ path to victory relied on wins from their senior and first-year players.
A pair of seniors, Jocelyn Lehman ’18 and Davis earned victories, with Lehman doing so in four games and Davis in five game. First years Alexis Lazor ’21 and Riya Mital ’21 chipped in as well, besting their Lions counterparts. No. 8 Emily Sherwood ’19 had the most dominant win of the day, just a week after returning to the court from an injury.
“We went into the weekend a little nervous because [Teegan] was out with the flu,” Mital said. “Playing up a spot was a little scary at first, but once I got on court my confidence came back and I played to win.”
In a fierce match at the top position, Lucy Beecroft ’20 fell in five games, four of which were decided by a margin of just two points. No. 2 Celine Yeap ’19 lost in four, with her three defeats each coming by just two points again.
On Sunday afternoon, Yale took on their next Ancient Eight rival, Cornell. Heavily favored to win, the Bulldogs swept the Big Red 9–0, boosting their confidence after the close match the previous day.
The most exhilarating match of the day was fought by Aishwarya Bhattacharya ’21 against Cornell’s Margaux Losty at the No. 3 position. Bhattacharya won the first and third games while Losty won the second and fourth, but Bhattacharya sealed the deal in the final set by a score of 13–11.
The match against Cornell displayed several other exciting competitions as well. Beecroft won her match over four games, winning the last with a dominant score of 11–3. Several games stretched into extra points, with Lazor and Selena Maity ’18 both playing in games that reached 15 points, four past the normal winning total of 11.
“Winning 9–0 against Cornell was a huge deal for us,” Lazor said. “I’m so proud of us for winning both matches this weekend despite missing [Teegan].”
Yale hopes to extend its winning streak over its two remaining matches before capping off the regular season. The Elis first host No. 2 Harvard, which has been perennially the best team in the nation. Then the Bulldogs will travel to fellow Ivy and No. 11 Dartmouth, after which they will compete in the CSA Championships on Feb 15.
“I’m really looking forward to Nationals,” said Davis. “I think we’re going to show something the other teams won’t expect from us.”
Yale will play Harvard at 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9 at Brady Squash Center.
Alex Reedy | firstname.lastname@example.org