Women’s squash clinches second in NESCAC Championship

Women’s squash defeated Wesleyan and Middlebury to advance to the NESCAC Championship final last weekend before falling to Trinity.

The Ephs defeated the Cardinals 8-1 and the Panthers 6-3 on Saturday.

First on the docket was Wesleyan. Players in positions three through ten all won in three games, using short shots and aggressive serves to their advantage. No. 2 Tri-captain Hayley Parsons ’18 won in a gritty four-gamer. Tri-captain Ananya Mahalingam-Dhingra ’18 notched a close 15-13 victory, and Esther Baek ’19 dominated her opponent 11-0 in the second game. Friedman fought gracefully against Cardinals No. 1 player Laila Samy but fell in three games.

Overall, the Ephs won 8-1.

After a lunch break, the women’s team returned to the courts ready to play Middlebury.

Up first, Sarah Willwerth ’21 fought hard but lost in five. Swann and Parsons both won, with Parsons winning in four and Swann in three.

Caroline Hogan ’18 won in four games, making excellent use of the boast and different serves in order to defeat her opponent.  Baek won quickly in three. Julia Ward ’21 fought through an intense five-game match and won decisively in the fifth. Tri-captain Nicole Friedman ’18 won in four games against an opponent who has historically proven quite difficult to beat. Abby Leblanc ’21 lost in five despite her hard work. Mahalingam-Dhingra lost in four.

Overall, the Ephs defeated the Panthers 6-3.

Head coach Zafi Levy ’01 commented on the match. “I am really happy with the way we played on Saturday,” Levy said. “The team had to work hard twice in one day with a short break in between matches. Our seniors did a great job leading the way and [carrying] the team to the final.”

On Sunday, the women lost to Trinity 7-2 in the final round of the NESCAC Championship.

The Eph seniors were competing in their final NESCAC tournament in their collegiate careers. Friedman fought hard, impressively getting points off of her opponent and holding her own during long rallies, but was ultimately bested. Parsons also hung with her opponent in long rallies but lost in three games. Hogan played beautifully and beat her opponent in three. Mahalingam-Dhingra got a game off of her opponent and lost in four after solid playing. Other highlights included Melissa Swann ’20’s well-deserved victory at the No. 8 position.

Regarding the tournament, Mahalingam-Dhingra said, “We are pleased with everyone’s performance last weekend. We came into the weekend aiming to finish second, and we achieved that goal.”

Overall, it was a great end to the weekend for the Ephs as they capped off conference play.

Assistant coach Blair Dils commented, “Mission accomplished this weekend. We got to the finals, put up a good fight against one of the top teams in the country.” The women visit Brown tomorrow at 5 p.m.

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