The Williams women’s squash team came in second place in the Division II national team championships this past weekend at Yale. Because of this impressive performance the Ephs ended their season ranked 10th in the nation.
The squad started off the weekend with an 8-1 victory over Franklin and Marshall on Friday. F&M, who came into the tournament ranked five spots below Williams at number fifteen, was not able to match the superior skill and fitness of the Williams team. Said Jen Berylson ’01, “It was a great match to start the weekend because it gave us confidence going into the rest of the tournament.”
First-year Adrienne Ellman played a tough match at number one. Her opponent Anjali Ponni-Rajumkar was a second-team All- American pick from last year, and this year was chosen to play in the Constable tournament, reserved for the top sixteen players in the nation.
Commented teammate Selma Kikic ’02, “It was a frustating match, but playing against the top competitors in the country is only going to make Adrienne a better player. In the next three years I’m sure she is going to be toppling players like this.”
Co-Captain Amanda Winklevoss ’01 played impressively in her match at number four. Winklevoss, who had been out the previous week, came back in full force, dominating her opponent with clean rails and precise drop shots.
In the semi-finals of the tournament on Saturday the Ephs soundly defeated Colby 9-0. The Mules, who came into the tournament ranked 14th, had just come off of an exciting 6-3 upset over Amherst. However, the Ephs dominated from the start as they dropped only one game to Colby in all the matches played.
At number seven Co-Captain Megan Doherty ’00 played exceptionally well in the second-to-last match of her college squash career. Coach Julie Greenwood commented, “Megan was moving her opponent around well and she had really good shot selection. She never let her opponent in the match.”
Katherine French ’02, playing at number three, also played a particularly nice match against her Colby opponent. About French’s performance, Coach Greenwood said, “She was competing and hitting the ball better than she has all season.”
Ellman, fueled from her last match, played flawlessly against Colby. Relenting just one point the entire contest, Ellman had finished her match in the time that it takes most people to warm-up.
On Sunday the Ephs faced Bowdoin in the finals of the tournament. The two teams had also met last year also in the finals, and Williams had pulled through with an exciting 5-4 victory. However, this year the Polar Bears were vying for revenge. Ranked ninth nationally coming into the tournament, Bowdoin took the match 7-2.
At number six Johanna Kolodny ’01 notched a good win for her team. After losing 7-9 in the second game, Kolodny re-affirmed control and won her next two games 9-1, 9-0. Kolodny was able to overpower her opponent because of her smart shot selection and mental toughness. At number nine Whitney Hallagan ’03 won her match by default.
Both Jen Berylson ’01 and Kikic played exciting five-game matches. At number eight Berylson fought hard in a very tight match, and she even had match-ball against her opponent at one point. Teammate Kelly Ishazuka ’01 noted, “Jen played one of the best matches that I have seen her play all season. She fought hard for every single point, and the match honestly could have gone either way.”
At number two Kikic also stepped up her game in an extremely competitive contest. Coach Greenwood: “It was an unbelievable effort on both parts, the kind of match you hope to see at this tournament. There was a great crowd, and Selma turned a lot of heads. She is definitely one to watch in the next two years.”
Despite the loss, Coach Greenwood was pleased with her team’s overall performance: “I am really proud of the team and the progress we have made this season. We improved competitively and technically with each match, and we ended the season playing our best squash. This is an unbelievable group of women in terms of teamwork, work ethic, and leadership, and we have a lot to look forward to next year.”
Though the regular season play is over, the Ephs will host an individuals tournament for the top college players in the country on March 3-5.