This past weekend held mixed results for the Yale women’s squash team, which triumphed 7–2 against No. 4 Penn but lost 5–4 in a tight match against No. 3 Princeton.
Beating Penn (6–1, 1–1 Ivy) — a dominant team in the league — demonstrates the progress the No. 6 Bulldogs (5–1, 1–1) have made since the start of the season. Though it has been five years since the Elis last tasted victory against the Tigers (9–0, 2–0) head coach Dave Talbott described the weekend as an overall success. While the Elis could not put away Princeton, with the defeat of Penn, Yale is currently ranked sixth in the college squash association.
“[It was] a good weekend for the women. Penn’s been a dominant team, so for us to beat them 7–2 shows they’re not as strong as they have been,” Talbott said. “They’ve been at the top of the league for several of the last few years and [defeating them this weekend] showed our progress.”
The improvement in performance can be partly attributed to the new training regime implemented this season. Talbott noted that the new program is focused on getting the players fitter and stronger.
Team captain Emily Sherwood ’19 concurred, noting that the weekend’s success was a result of the team’s preparation. She said the past two matches demonstrate how hard the team has been training this season.
Talbott also attributed the performance to the team’s chemistry and dynamic.
“This group really likes each other. They’re very supportive of each other,” said Talbott. “They’re one of the tightest-knit teams we’ve had in years.”
Talbott praised the seniors on the team, Sherwood and Celine Yeap ’19, for their leadership and their role in facilitating the team’s sense of camaraderie. Talbott said Sherwood been a great asset and has served as a strong captain, helping make the team more cohesive than ever.
Talbott also highlighted Lucy Beecroft ’20 for her excellent play and for her support of her teammates. Coming from the United Kingdom as one of the top juniors in Europe, Beecroft has been a vital part of the team, Talbott said.
After claiming an impressive result against the Quakers, the team refused to back down from the challenge of facing the second-ranked team in the country — Princeton. While Yale ultimately fell to the Tigers, the Bulldogs were able to sweep Princeton’s top three seeds. Given the Tigers dominance in recent years results, the players were pleased with how the weekend went.
“We all fought so hard and showed how hard we have worked against Princeton, just losing 5–4 in a very tight match,” said Beecroft. “We lost to them 8–1 in scrimmages in November so this was a huge step up and is very motivating for us for the rest of the season.”
As for the team’s goals for the rest of the season, all Talbott wants is to continue to see improvement. The Elis are now eager for their weekend trip to the beautiful weather of Palo Alto as they turn to face No. 5 Stanford. This is a particularly special match for Talbott, as his brother coaches Stanford.
“Stanford is a big match for us,” Talbott said. “We beat them 5–4 last year, but for our seeding in the national tournament, this is a really important match. Plus it’s my brother. My brother is the head coach of their program, so it’s fun. They’re a good team this year. But we’ve got good momentum going in.”
The team looks to ride this wave of momentum from their impressive performances against Ivy League foes all the way to the West Coast in a game with big implications for their long-term goals.
Yale’s match against the Cardinals begins at 4 p.m. on Sunday at Stanford.
Reese Koppel | firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelly Wei | email@example.com