Women’s squash ends season at Individuals

This weekend, three members of the women’s squash team traveled to Trinity for the Individuals’ Championships. Representing Williams were co-captain Adrienne Ellman ’03, Andrea Berberian ’05 and Clare Whipple ’05. The tournament is divided into two divisions. The Ramsay Cup is the top 32 players, and the Holleran Cup is the next 32 players. Ellman and Whipple did well among the fierce competition in the Ramsay Cup, while Berberian was a powerhouse in the Holleran Cup.

Ellman, seeded 13th in the tournament, breezed through her first match, dropping only two points to her opponent, Niki Clement. The next match up was a bit tougher as Ellman faced fourth seed Michelle Quibbell, #1 at Yale, to whom she lost in three games.

Whipple had a similarly tough match, when she played fifth-seed Rushika Kumar, #1 for Princeton. Yet she bounced back quickly and had one of the biggest wins of her season. Next she went up against Julia Drury, #2 for Dartmouth, who had beaten her earlier in the season during Williams’ dual match at Dartmouth. This time, Whipple stepped it up and beat Drury in a fourth game tiebreaker.

Ellman explained, “Clare pounded the ball with a lot of pace to the back of the court, allowing herself to use her newly developed, and still developing, front court game and put the ball away. After the first game, she moved away from the ‘power’ fight and concentrated on the tactical side of the game.”

“Clare had a great match with Julia Drury,” Berberian said. “Clare had lost to her at the start of the season and you could see how much she had improved over the few months. She came out really strong and determined to win and proved herself as one of the top players.”

Berberian also had a strong showing this weekend. Seeded 16th in the Holleran Cup, she defeated her first opponent, Emily Slack, in a quick three games. Her second match pitted her against the #1 seed of the draw and #1 for Amherst Ashley Harmeling. The match went to five games; the first four were very close, but the long points had worn out Berberian by the fifth.

But important to note is that “Andrea had a close five game match with Ashley, who went on to win the Holleran division,” according to Ellman. And no future opponent gave Harmeling as close of a match as Berberian did.

Saturday started with matches in the round of 16. Ellman decisively defeated her first opponent, but then lost in the quarterfinals. “Ellman fought hard throughout the weekend to earn a fourth all-American title,” said Head Coach Zafi Levy ’01.

Whipple’s match in the round of 16 was against Frances Ho, Yale’s #3 who was seeded 11th in the tournament. The first game was fairly close, but Ho won. Whipple pounced back, winning the second game. Unfortunately, she could not regain control of the match.

“Clare played some great squash this weekend,” Levy said. “She avenged her lost to the Dartmouth #2 player during the season with a sensational 3-1 win, and then lost a very close match to the Yale #3 player. This performance proves her great potential.”

Ellman had similar praise for her teammate: “This shows how far she has come during the season. She was particularly patient and consistent. To take a game off the number 11 seed proves she is rising to the top and a force to be reckoned with next year.”

Berberian won her round of 16 match without a problem. In the quarterfinals she went on to play Cornell’s #1, Brooke Stetson. Berberian won easily in three decisive games. This win put her into Sunday’s semifinals round against Kerry Betts, #2 for Brown and the fifth-seed in the tournament. Despite Berberian’s quick moves and impressive lobs, Betts won in four games.

“Andrea made it to the semifinals of the B-flight consolation overstepping strong competition, including the number one from Cornell. She really brought everything together – she played extremely smart squash that gave her the edge over her opponents. I was really impressed in the way that she strung together points.”

“She played some of her best squash this year,” Levy said. “Andrea, who plays #4 for Williams, dominated the Brown #2 player through the third game before fatigue hit her. Andrea showed great courage and determination throughout the weekend, ending the season on a high note.”

“It was a very strong finish for everyone,” Ellman said. Levy agreed that, “overall, I felt all my players continued their improvement this weekend; most importantly, they have all represented themselves and Williams in the most respectable way,” said Levy.

“It was a great weekend, with lots of great squash,” said Berberian. “Seeing the seniors, Ellmen, Dave [Morris ’03], Parth [Doshi ’03] and Max [Montgelas ’03] playing in their final matches of their season was really amazing. All of them have committed themselves to squash for so many years and we all really appreciate everything they have done for our teams. I can only hope to accomplish as much as they have in their four years.”

Now as the team looks to next year, it will be hard to replace co-captains Whitney Hallagan ’03 and Ellman. Both have been a force on the squad for four years; Ellman has held the #1 position for each year she has been at Williams. They have helped this team go from winning the second division of nationals their sophomore year, to playing in the top division of nationals for the past two years, this year placing seventh and increasing its respect in the squash world. They have been terrific leaders on and off the courts, making sure the team not only plays the best squash possible, but also has a good time. Team snacks, secret psychers, squash parties, tailgates, family dinners and weekends at tournaments have meant lots of time together and lots of funny memories. Coaches Sarah Marks ’00 and Levy, as well as first-years have been great additions to the team this year.