After edging out Brown and Dartmouth for the last spot in the A Division at the National Championship for the Howe Cup and the eighth position nationally, women’s squash prepared for an uphill battle as it walked onto the courts at Harvard this past Friday. While the Ephs ended up losing to all three of their higher-ranked opponents – Princeton, Yale and Stanford – in the tournament this weekend, the team was proud of its marked overall improvement within the past few weeks and its strong finish as No. 8 in the country.
The first match of the weekend for the team was against Princeton, who beat out Harvard 5-4 later on in the weekend for the No. 1 ranking in the country. The Ephs fell to the Tigers 8-1, with the lone win by Toby Eyre ’10 in the No. 1 position on the ladder. Eyre beat out opponent Amanda Seibert for a decisive 9-7, 9-7, 9-1 victory.
The team then competed against Yale early Saturday morning for a much more lively competition. While Yale swept Williams in early January with a 9-0 victory, they were unable to win all of their matches this time around thanks to another win by Eyre at the top of the ladder. Eyre took out her opponent in just four games to win the match 9-1, 4-9, 9-4, 10-8. Nonetheless, the Ephs ended up falling to the Bulldogs 8-1.
Williams then went on to fight Stanford in the 7-8 playoff early Sunday morning. Not only did the team improve its final score against Stanford from an 8-1 loss earlier in the season to a 7-2 defeat, but the team also played much stronger squash throughout the lineup and made the Cardinals fight for their final victory. While Eyre once again beat her opponent, this time in an efficient three games, Caroline Henry ’10 also beat out Stanford’s Katie Corelli in four games for a win at the No. 5 position. There were also a number of other close matches throughout the lineup, most notably the tough four-game matches by Julia Reiser ’10, Courtney Bogle ’12 and Jennifer Coxe ’10 in the No. 9, 3 and 2 positions.
“I think we showed that we are worthy contenders for the top schools,” Eyre said.
Despite the plethora of injuries and illnesses the team faced over the course of the season, women’s squash finished its regular season with an 11th consecutive Little Three title, as the NESCAC runner-up, and with memorable wins over Dartmouth and Brown to propel itself back into the top eight in the country. The women are now looking forward to the individual National Championships, to be held at Williams on Feb. 27.