Women’s squash played for personal glory last weekend at Trinity in the National Individual Championships. Tri-captains Toby Eyre ’10 and Jennifer Coxe ’10 were joined by teammates Courtney Bogle ’12, Laura Henry ’13 and Alli Rubin ’13 in making the trip to Hartford for the weekend’s championship event. Eyre and Coxe competed in the Ramsay Division, which consists of the top 32 players in the country. Bogle, Henry and Rubin played the Holleran Division, which is made up of the second 64 best players nationally. Players are initially arranged in the main draw bracket: Losers from each matchup fall to the consolation bracket that corresponds to the round in which they dropped out of the main draw competition.
Head Coach Zafi Levy said that the preparation for the individual tournament was different than the preparation for team matches. “Since it is an individual event, our kids mostly played matches over the last two weeks to stay in shape,” he said.
Williams saw mixed success in Friday’s first few rounds of competition. Fifth-seeded Eyre’s tournament began against Bates phenom Cheri-Ann Parris, against whom Eyre had gone 1-1 on the season. This time, Eyre wasted no time in taking control of the match and put Parris away in three games.
Eyre’s first round win set her up for a match against Dartmouth No. 1 Valeria Wiens. After winning the first two games of the match, Eyre slipped to drop the next two, but bounced back for a fifth game victory and claimed a quarterfinal berth, sealing her status as a First Team All-American. The top eight finishers in the Ramsay Division earn First Team status every year.
Teammate and fellow captain Coxe didn’t fare as well in the early rounds of the tournament: A first round loss to Stanford’s Pamela Chua put her in the consolation bracket. Coxe then defeated her first round consolation opponent, Penn’s Yarden Odinak, in five games.
Bogle sat out the first round of competition in the Holleran bracket thanks to a first-round bye. The Eph sophomore came into the second round rested and ready to play, and she put away Vassar’s Emillie Kraft in three quick games.
Henry and Rubin both fell to the consolation bracket in the first round, to Nikki Sequeira of Princeton and Laura Pyne of Brown, respectively; however, neither let the defeat affect her, as each managed to take care of business Friday night. Henry mowed through Wesleyan’s Casey Simchik and Mt. Holyoke’s Laura Robinson, while Rubin defeated Vassar’s Kristine Bell after a bye in the first round of consolation.
On Saturday, Eyre went up against fourth-seeded Logan Greer from UPenn in the quarterfinals. Unfortunately for the Eph, Greer ended Eyre’s season and her collegiate career after beating Eyre in four games. Eyre can claim one of the best careers of any squash player in Williams history; she finishes her time on the courts with a 55-12 record overall and as a four-time All-American, three of them – including this year’s result – first team honors. Additionally, she led the Ephs to three ‘A’ division national championship playoffs and one ‘B’ division national championship during her Williams career.
Coxe’s tournament run was also cut short in the quarterfinals of the consolation bracket: She fell to Cornell’s Jaime Laird in five games.
Bogle, ranked fourth in the Holleran Division, made it all the way into the final 16 players of the tournament following her victories on Friday. However, Saturday was not kind to Bogle, as she lost her Round of 16 match to Cornell’s Liza Stokes. Later that day, her tournament ended with a four-game loss to Dartmouth’s Rebecca Lau in the secondary consolation bracket.
Meanwhile, Henry and Rubin both won two hard-fought Saturday matches in the consolation bracket to stay in the game: Henry battled through a four-game match against Brown’s Sarah Crosky before playing another five games versus Northeastern’s Tessa Martin to finish out the day, while Rubin played two five-game marathon matches against Kelly Whipple from Hamilton and Samantha Smith from Colby.
On Sunday, Henry and Rubin faced off against each other in the finals of the first round consolation bracket. Rubin started the match off by winning the first game 11-6 and managed to eke out a 12-10 victory in the second as well. Henry, however, roared back to take the next game by a six-point margin. Henry also won the fourth game, setting up a winner-takes-all fifth game. After a series of back and forth action, Henry completed the comeback with a 14-12 fifth game victory to come out triumphant over her teammate and claim the first round consolation bracket championship, while Rubin claimed second in the bracket.
According to Levy, the team recognized the awkwardness of two Ephs competing against each other on a national stage and acted accordingly. “We agreed that I [would] not coach them,” he said. “I … just watched the women’s match without interfering.”
“The match could not [have been] closer,” Levy added.
Sending five Ephs to Individual Championships marked a fitting end to a successful season: The Ephs went 15-6, good for a national ranking of eighth by the end of regular season play. Last weekend’s strong underclassmen performances show that the future is bright for the Ephs.