Women’s squash beats Bates, falls to Drexel, UVA

Last weekend, women’s squash (189, 101 in the NESCAC) traveled to Princeton, N.J. for the CSA Team Championships. The Ephs accrued a 1-2 record and end the season ranked No. 14 nationally.

On Friday, they fell 5-4 to Drexel. It was a disappointing loss, since they had beaten the Dragons 7-2 on Dec. 3.

Playing the three-court system, Charlotte Walsh ’17 at No. 9, Melissa Swann ’20 at No. 6 and Hayley Parsons ’18 at No. 3 were up first.

Walsh defeated her opponent in three quick games. Swann came back from a 1-0 deficit to win in four games. Parsons, despite getting a game off of her opponent, fell 3-1, making the overall match score 2-1 in favor of the Ephs.

Next on court were Ellen Coombe ’17 at No. 8, captain Alyssa Ritchie ’17 at No. 5 and Esther Baek ’19 at No. 2.

Coombe controlled her match from start to finish and won handily in three games. Ritchie fought hard against a strong player but eventually lost in three games. Baek also fell in three games, so the teams were tied 3-3 at the end of the second round.

Anna Nicholson ’20 at No. 7, Ananya Mahalingam-Dhingra ’18 at No. 4 and Nicole Friedman ’18 at No. 1 played the final three matches.

Nicholson played an excellent game of squash and won 3-0 to give the Ephs their fourth point, meaning that they only needed one more to win. Despite competing well, however, Mahalingam-Dhingra and Friedman fell in four and three games, respectively, making the match score 5-4 to the Dragons and sending the Ephs to the consolation round.

They redeemed themselves with a 5-4 victory over NESCAC foe Bates on Saturday to advance to the consolation finals of the Kurtz Cup. 

Walsh dominated throughout her match and defeated her opponent in three games. Swann, despite dropping the second game, came back and won in four. Parsons also won in three tight games and gained a third point for the Ephs.

Coombe won in three games and earned the Ephs’ fourth point. Ritchie displayed tremendous effort against a difficult adversary and managed to get a game but eventually fell in four. Baek also played well against a tough competitor in four tight games but could not secure the victory.

Nicholson won in three decisive games, gaining the fifth and winning point for the Ephs. Mahalingam-Dhingra had to default her match due to illness, and Friedman fell in four close games to a skilled competitor, making the overall match score 5-4 in favor of Williams. 

On Sunday, they again lost 5-4 in the consolation finals to the University of Virginia (UVA). 

Walsh again dominated from start to finish, winning handily in three games and ending her career with a victory. Swann battled hard throughout her match. She won 13-11 in the final game to get the Ephs their second point. Parsons, like Walsh, controlled the entire match against a tough opponent, winning in three games and making the score 3-0.

Coombe also faced a difficult challenger and fell 3-1. Ritchie fought hard, taking her opponent to a tie-breaking 12-10 in the first but lost in three close games. Baek won her first game but could not maintain the momentum.

Nicholson managed to take a talented adversary to five games but lost in the final game, making the score 4-3 in favor of UVA. Friedman won easily in three games to tie the score once more. Mahalingam-Dhingra was last on court for the deciding match. Although she came back from a 2-1 deficit to force a fifth game, she could not maintain the momentum and lost in the final game. 

Head Coach Zafi Levy ’01 reflected on the tournament and season. “We have had an incredible season with some huge wins,” he said. “We were ranked in the top 10 in the country at some point. This past weekend was very difficult for the team because we lost two matches by the smallest of margins. We are slightly disappointed but also incredibly proud of our achievements. Apart from powerhouse Trinity, we are the highest ranked Div. III team in the country!”

Indeed, the women have a lot to be proud of. They accumulated an impressive 18-9 record overall. Additionally, three players received All-NESCAC honors. Friedman was named to her third straight First Team, while Baek and Parsons earned Second Team honors. These three, and with six additional teammates, will return next year. 

This weekend, some of the women will travel to Hanover, N.H. to compete in the CSA Individual Tournament at Dartmouth.