This weekend, the Cornell women’s squash team ended its season on a high note at the Howe Cup. After a 5-4 win over longtime rival Stanford on Saturday, the No. 7-seeded Red ensured it will regain the No. 6 spot in the national rankings for next year. The team suffered a 9-0 loss against Yale in its first match of the weekend, but according to head coach Julee Devoy, the final score was not indicative of the squad’s performance.
“There were six very competitive matches that went 3-1 or 3-2, so it was definitely much closer than the score reveals,” Devoy said. “On paper, [Yale is] a better team than us, but we put up a good fight.”
Senior co-captain Lauren Sachvie echoed Devoy’s thoughts.
“We did even better than we did when we played [Yale] in the season,” she sad. “Even though the score seems like they maybe would have killed us, everyone had very close matches … that we were just on the losing end of.”
The tough loss on Friday did not deter the women from preparing themselves mentally for Stanford.
“Our main goal for the weekend was to go and beat [Stanford] and try to regain our sixth seed that we had a couple years ago. Before [the match] we were really pumped … and everyone really wanted to go out there and win,” Sachvie said.
At the No. 7 spot, Sachvie won in five against Stanford’s Serena Fagan, tying the match at four apiece. Freshman No. 1 Danielle Letourneau sealed the win for Cornell in another tough five-set battle versus Pamela Chu.
Devoy praised both women for rising to the occasion on Saturday.
“Danielle … clinched the match for us right at the end. [She] was under a lot of pressure, stayed strong mentally and pulled through with that,” Devoy said. “Lauren Sacvhie, her match went 12-10 in the fifth, and if she had not won her game then Danielle’s [match] wouldn’t have made any difference. I think I have to single those two out as being very mentally tough and really playing their best for the team. They came through and that was awesome to see.”
The coach mentioned the efforts of rest of the team as well, noting that although “you can single out the girls that won — and they did play exceptionally well — even some of the girls who lost had great matches also.”
Even after achieving its season-long goal, the Red continued to fight hard in its final match against Penn on Sunday. In the end, Cornell fell, 7-2, to the fourth-seeded Quakers, but according to Sachvie the loss was not for lack of endeavor.
“When we were playing Penn — who’s also ranked higher than us — we ended up taking a few matches off them,” she said. “Everyone played really well. We could have just settled with sixth, but we really wanted to get fifth. Everyone played to get fifth and it just didn’t turn out for us, but that’s alright.”
“You really couldn’t wish to finish the season on a better note,” Devoy said. “Even though the Penn match was a little bit of an uphill battle … [the team] came out and played well. They didn’t get wiped off the court by a better team; they stood their ground and were extremely positive. It was a great way to finish the season … especially for the seniors having regained that No. 6 spot which was essentially our goal. It was a great finish.”
Original Author: Olivia Wittels