Women’s squash wins two of three on the road

This weekend, women’s squash (17-8), ranked eighth nationally, went on the road to wrap up the regular season. On Saturday, the team defeated No. 18 Franklin and Marshall before heading to New Jersey Sunday for a double header against the national No. 4 Princeton in the morning and George Washington in the afternoon. The Ephs were beaten handily by the Tigers but soundly defeated the Colonials.

The team ended the regular season on a high note with a decisive victory over George Washington on Sunday. The women swept the Colonials even though the Ephs’ No. 1 player, tri-captain Toby Eyre ’10, sat out the match. The rest of the team stepped up and filled out the lineup to get the win. Impressively, the Ephs as a team only dropped one game during the entirety of the match.

Williams did not fare so well against Princeton, falling 9-0. Although the No. 3 through No. 9 Ephs did not win a single set, there were competitive matches throughout the morning. Tri-captain Caroline Henry ’10, playing No. 5 took part in the longest set of the day, forcing her opponent to score 14 points before finally giving up the second set.

The closest matches of the day took place at the top. Eyre and tri-captain Jennifer Coxe ’10, playing No. 1 and No. 2 respectively, both took early leads against their Tiger opponents, but ultimately were unable to hang on. Eyre won the first two sets of her match by small margins but was defeated in the third and fourth sets, losing both 11-4. Eyre fought hard in the fifth but was ultimately outlasted 13-11. After winning the first game of her match, Coxe fell three straight games.

Head Coach Zafi Levy was especially impressed with Coxe’s performance this weekend. “I thought [she] played extremely well this weekend,” he said. “She is one of the best players I have ever coached.”

The Ephs’ relatively competitive matchup with the Tigers is a good sign, according to Levy. “[This weekend] does not show much except for the fact that we played really well against Princeton,” he said. “We hope to be competitive … against the best teams in the country [at Nationals].”

Sunday’s split followed a strong outing at Franklin and Marshall on Saturday, where the Ephs opened the final weekend of the regular season in convincing style. The Ephs blanked the Diplomats 9-0, again only dropping one set all day.

The most exciting match of the day was at the No. 8 spot. Kavitha Mannava ’11 needed four sets to defeat her opponent, Franklin and Marshall’s Gabby Robinson. The first set established the tense tenor of the match, as Mannava won by only two points. Manvana claimed the second game, but Robinson came back in the third to stave off elimination. Mannava finally put Robinson away in a close fourth game.

Other than that matchup, the Ephs refused to negotiate and sent the Diplomats back empty-handed at the end of the day. Carolyn Kaemmer ’12 won her match at No. 9 while only giving up six points the entire match. Julia Reiser ’10, playing No. 7, closed out her match and her final regular season in convincing fashion, only dropping nine points.

The Ephs have next weekend off, but then will travel to Yale for the ‘A’ division National Championships. The Ephs will face a challenge in New Haven: Williams will be the only small school participating in ‘A’ division and for the prestigious Howe Cup. The seven teams that will be competing against the women on Feb. 27 – Harvard, Trinity, UPenn, Princeton, Yale, Cornell and Stanford – are responsible for all eight of the team’s losses this season.

Levy is not disheartened by the stiff compeition presented at Nationals, however. “We have competed in the ‘A’ draw [during] seven out of the last eight seasons. We know it will be hard to play against the power house[s] of Div. I squash,” he commented. “[However], we love the challenge, and we expect to compete hard and improve along the way.”