This weekend, the women’s squash team will play in the CSA National Championships at the Brady Squash Center in New Haven, Conn. Forty other teams will participate in the tournament, which is divided into six divisions. Cornell will compete for the Howe Cup in the A Division, alongside Harvard, Trinity, Penn, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Williams and Dartmouth.
The first match for the No. 6 Red will be against third seed Penn and will take place tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.
Cornell lost to the Quakers, 7-2, early on in the regular season. Freshman Jaime Laird (No. 2) and sophomore Shivangi Paranjpe (No. 3) won Cornell’s only two matches that day. When asked about whether the team felt intimidated given the past Penn results, head coach Julee DeVoy replied confidently.
“It’s not intimidating because we’re the underdogs and it’s harder to defend than it is to attack,” DeVoy said. “We’ve got nothing to lose and there’s no pressure for us. It’s Penn that should be trembling.”
The last match of the regular season took place on February 6th, when the Red beat Franklin and Marshall, 9-0, at Cornell’s Belkin International Squash Courts. Since then the team has been playing challenge matches in order to finalize its lineup and mentally preparing for the upcoming championships. Sophomore captain Lauren Sachvie described the team’s preparation.
“We’re definitely ready,” Sachvie said. “Everyone has been playing really well and the team morale is excellent. Our five seniors really want to go out with a big bang so everyone is really excited for the upcoming matches.”
The five aforementioned seniors are Becca Hazell, Maxi Prinsen, Annie Ritter, Liza Stokes and Rachel Wagner. Hazell will play in Cornell’s No. 1 spot, while Stokes and Wagner will play No. 5 and No. 6, respectively. Prinsen will be seeded eighth.
Also joining the lineup this year are three freshmen: Jaime Laird (No. 2), Maggie Remson (No. 9), and Lexi Glassman (No. 10). However, DeVoy did not think their status as freshmen would hinder their performances at the tournament.
“They’ve had the whole season to settle in,” DeVoy said. “Jaime is a very talented player and very deserving of that spot. Maggie and Lexi have also been amazing contributors and have worked extremely hard. They will get some good experience at team championships.”
Laird also commented on her feelings going into championships for the first time ever.
“It’ll be our first match in front of such a big crowd, so it’s a little nerve-racking,” Laird said. “But we’ve been training really hard for the past couple of weeks and I’m more excited than I am nervous.”
Last year, Cornell lost to Penn in the first round of team championships, coming in sixth place overall. The Red is looking to improve its rank from last year, and a victory against the Quakers would certainly do that. If the Red wins on Friday, it will automatically advance to fourth place nationally, and despite the results of the last Cornell-Penn match-up, Sachvie said that a Red victory is still in the cards.
“We might not be expected to win,” Sachvie said, “but we had a lot of close matches last time so there’s always the possibility.”
Laird echoed her teammates sentiments.
“We’d be selling ourselves short to say that we can’t beat Penn,” Laird said.
DeVoy acknowledged the team’s strong work ethic and positive thinking, noting that these qualities have contributed to Cornell’s successful season and will likely help the team succeed in tomorrow’s match.
“The girls are very motivated and enthusiastic. They’re a tight bunch of girls working towards the common goal even though it is an individual sport,” DeVoy said.
The goal this weekend will be earning a victory over Penn, which will greatly help the Red in its quest to improve upon last year’s sixth place ranking. The final standings of each team will be determined after the tournament ends on Sunday.
Original Author: Katie Schubauer