This past Saturday, the No. 4 Yale women’s squash team travelled across the country to take on No. 6 Stanford in what ultimately amounted to a Bulldog loss.
Despite the Elis being favored coming into the match, the final score was 7–2 in favor of the Cardinal. The two victories for Yale came from Helen Teegan ’21 and Celine Yeap ’19, the No. 2 and No. 3 players on the team, respectively.
“The Stanford match wasn’t our best, traveling to California for the first away match was definitely tough, but I’m glad we did it,” captain Emily Sherwood ’19 said. “It showed us what we need to work on both mentally and physically. Overall it was not the result we wanted, but all we can do is look forward to the upcoming matches.”
Sherwood lost her match within three games, suffering defeat with final scores of 11–9, 11–7 and 11–7. Meanwhile, No. 1 Lucy Beecroft ’20 played Stanford’s Elena Wagenmans in a nail-biting match that lasted five games. But Beecroft ultimately lost in the final game 13–11.
Of the two triumphs for the Bulldogs, one was dominant, while the other was more closely-contested. Teegan won her match within three games, while Yeap needed five sets to ultimately come out on top by a score of 11–7 in the final game.
In a match that could have gone either way, Riya Mital ’21 suffered an injury with the score all tied up, forcing her to forfeit in the fifth game despite the score being tied at 4–4. Mital’s medical hardship gave Stanford a crucial victory in this otherwise even matchup. Nikita Joshi ’21, similar to Beecroft, also endured defeat in another hard-fought set of five games.
“Though it was not the result we were hoping for, I know that the team will learn from this loss and train harder and smarter so that, if we play them in the Nationals in February, we are better prepared,” Joshi said. “It was exciting to travel to California with the team for our first away match of the season.”
Although Stanford is not a regular opponent for Yale, the team has a special relationship with the Bulldogs, seeing as Stanford head coach Mark Talbott is the brother of Yale head coach Dave Talbott.
The two teams last clashed in February 2018, where they dueled in the first match of the 2018 College Squash Association Championships. In that competition, the Elis walked away as the victors, barely defeating the Cardinals five matches to four.
“Because of [our similar] national rankings, we knew that this match was going to be close, and we were ready to give it our all on court,” Joshi said. “We ended up losing 7–2, but every match was very close and could have gone either way.”
Joshi noted that the final score did not reflect the Yalies’ valiant performances as several matches went down to the wire. The Elis dropped three five-game matches, including Mital’s forfeit, while the Cardinal only dropped one of those narrow matchups.
With the Bulldogs’ upcoming matches this weekend after the loss, No. 4 Aishwarya Bhattacharya ’21 remarked that there is much the team can learn from the clash with the Cardinals.
“We had some very close five-game matches, and it was really inspiring to see everyone give their all on court,” Bhattacharya said. “We played some good squash, but on that day, Stanford was better.”
On Wednesday, Yale took on No. 3 Trinity in what ended up as another loss, this time to the Elis’ in-state rival. In an 8–1 defeat, the single Bulldog victory came from Joshi. The Bantams came into the midweek match 9–1, with their only loss against No. 1 Princeton. Trinity’s squad included three athletes ranked in the top 25 nationally.
The Bulldogs have a heavy weekend ahead, as they take on No. 13 George Washington on Saturday and No. 11 Virginia on Sunday.
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