Women’s squash takes second at NESCACs

Alexandra Pear

No. 13 women’s squash (14–10) finished runner-up at the NESCAC tournament this weekend, falling to Trinity 8-1 in the final after sweeping Hamilton and beating Middlebury 6-3. 

“Getting to the final of NESCAC is one of our main goals each season, and I am very happy we achieved our goal,” head coach Zafi Levy ’01 said. “I thought the entire team played really well.”

In their first match on Saturday, the women faced off against Hamilton. Sarah Willwerth ’21, Anna Nicholson ’20 and Adrienne Conza ’21 led the charge for the Ephs in the first wave of play, all winning in three games. 

Captain Esther Baek ’19, Abby LeBlanc ’21 and Alex Pear ’22 took the court next for the Ephs. Baek and LeBlanc toppled their opponents in three games, while Pear, who lost her second game, won in four. 

Julia Ward ’21, Melissa Swann ’20 and Kathryn Wright ’22 closed the match out for the Ephs. Their opponents were unable to keep up with their shot choices and quick “T” movements and each was defeated in a clean three games. The final match score was 9-0 to the Ephs.

After a short break, the women were back on the court to face off against Middlebury, finally getting the opportunity to play the Panthers again after losing 6-3 in a heartbreaking upset on Jan. 5. 

Willwerth, Nicholson and Conza led the Ephs into competition. Willwerth successfully moved her opponent around the court until her opponent folded in a convincing 3-0 victory. Nicholson lost the first game 11-5 but swept the next three games. Conza also had a tight four-game match and ultimately lost to her opponent with a score of 11-9 in the fourth. After the first round of matches, the match score was 2-1 to the Ephs.

Baek was up next, defeating her opponent in three games that all ended in extended points. LeBlanc played her Panther opponent in a neck-and-neck five-gamer and ultimately won 11-7 in the fifth game. Pear also played a hard-fought five games with her opponent but was eventually edged out 11-4 in the fifth. After two rounds of matches, the Ephs were leading the match 4-2 and needed only one more win to beat the Panthers. 

Ward secured the match win for the Ephs, beating her opponent 11-8 in the fifth game. Swann then had a nail-biting five-game match and won 11-4 in the fifth. Wright also played a close five games with her opponent but lost 11-2 in the fifth game. The final match score was 6-3 to the Ephs. 

“I’m so proud of how every single member of the team stepped up and improved this season,” Baek said. “Beating Middlebury after losing to them earlier in the season is a testament to all our hard work.”

On Sunday, the women played in the championship match against No. 1 Trinity. 

Willwerth and Nicholson were both defeated in three games by their opponents, while Conza secured the Ephs’ only win of the day in a convincing three games. The Bantams then won the final six matches in three games each, defeating Baek, LeBlanc, Pear, Ward, Swann and Wright. The final match score was 8-1 to the Bantams. 

The second-place finish at NESCACs marks the end of the regular season for the women, who will now start preparing for the national championships with hopes of beating No. 12 Brown in their first-round match.