Women’s squash secures silver medal at NESCAC Championship

Eliza Bower ’20 won exhibition matches against Trinity and Middlebury at the NESCAC Championship. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.

Women’s squash (17—5, 9—1 in the NESCAC) finished second at the NESCAC Championship last weekend, defeating Bowdoin and Middlebury before losing to Trinity in the finals.

On Sunday, the No. 2 seed Ephs fell to the No. 1 seed Bantams 9-0. The tournament, hosted by Amherst, saw the women finish second for the third consecutive year, as Trinity won its eleventh consecutive title. The Bantams are the only team to have won the tournament in its eleven-year history.

Trinity dominated on the day, but some Williams players turned in impressive performances. Melissa Swann ’20 at No. 6 held up in three tight games against a tough opponent. At No. 9, Caroline Hogan ’18 took her opponent to five games, making her the only player in the Ephs’ starting lineup to win a game off her opponent. In an exhibition match, Eliza Bower ’20 played masterfully at No. 10 and defeated her opponent in three games.

“We played very well Sunday despite the lopsided score,” Assistant Coach Blair Dils said, noting Trinity’s  powerhouse status.

On Saturday, the women defeated Bowdoin and Middlebury after receiving a first-round bye. The Ephs vanquished the Polar Bears 9–0 in the quarterfinals and trounced the Panthers 8–1 in the semifinals.

The team faced Middlebury at 3:30 p.m., playing the five-court system. The two sides had previously played just a few weeks earlier, with the Ephs prevailing 6-3. This time around, the women tried to improve upon their previous result. They did just that, picking up a convincing 8-1 victory.

At No. 1, Nicole Friedman ’18 defeated her opponent in four dominant games. At No. 4, Ananya Mahalingam-Dhingra ’18 defeated an opponent she had lost to in the previous meeting, winning 3-1. Hogan at No. 10 and Bower at No. 11 had very tight exhibition matches, with Hogan winning 13-11 in the fifth game and Bower triumphing in a similar fashion. Captain Alyssa Ritchie ’17 also played a memorable five-game match, but she eventually fell to a strong opponent at No. 5.

Against Bowdoin, all players handily won their matches, remaining dominant from start to finish. At No. 3, Bowdoin’s Alexa Horowitz won the first game against Hayley Parsons ’18, but Parsons came back and won the next three to win 3-1. No other Polar Bear won a game, resulting in a 9-0 sweep for the Ephs.

The women, who are ranked No. 10 nationally, play matches against No. 11 Dartmouth and No. 6 Stanford this week but have a two-week period without matches before the Nationals. Ritchie said that the team is happy about its second-place finish and that it is working to remain focused for the end of the season.

“This is typically the most difficult part of the season to stay motivated, but we hope to keep practices fun and challenging to maintain engagement and continue progressing,” she said.

“We have played well all weekend,” Head Coach Zafi Levy ’01 commented. “We look forward to playing Dartmouth and Stanford this week and continuing to improve before Nationals.”

The Ephs head to Hanover, N.H. today to compete against Dartmouth at 5 p.m.