March 6, 2001

Puigdemont-Sola Leads W. Squash at Individuals

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The season is barely over and already she has her mind set on next year’s national championships. Call it long-term planning, but women’s squash phenom, junior Olga Puigdemont-Sola is planning on redeeming three futile drives for an individual national title. After falling just short of a bid for a semifinal slot at the WISR individual tournament, the Spaniard is prepared to make a final run in her farewell campaign.

The junior led a group of six competitors from East Hill into a field of the top 64 players in the nation. Juniors Melinda Lee and Andrea McNeely and seniors Kate Lytle, Kellen Hecksher and Meghan Schwartz rounded out the talented corp.

The group played with varying measures of success. McNeely was ousted in the first round by Harvard’s Colby Hall, but avenged the defeat with a strong showing over Pam Schoenberg of Vassar. Lytle fell earlier to the Polar Bears’ Dana Betts but tallied two consolation victories. A similar fate fell upon Lee who was defeated in the first round, but then rallied for three straight consolation wins before dropping to Trinity’s Mollie Anderson in the final round. Heckscher picked up one win, while teammate Schwartz was unable to prove victorious.

Puidgdemont-Sola was the Red’s top finisher recording a trio of three-love victories en route to a quarterfinals date with Janine Thompson of Trinity.

In the weekend’s opening round the Cornellian bounced Schoenberg. The No. 4 seed in the tournament then drew Ancient Eight foe Hall.

“Those matches weren’t really that intense. The first two matches are usually pretty easy for me,” remarked Puigdemont-Sola.

Bowdoin’s Betts injected a bit of drama into the ensuing match, earning a game ball in the second game. Betts failed to convert however, and the challenger was shown the door in both that game and the one that followed.

Thompson appeared to be an auspicious match-up for Puigdemont-Sola. Cornell’s standout was seeded ahead of the finalist and was billed as the favorite.

The Bantam’s representative made the match a war of attrition, and ultimately her running style proved to be too much. The battle was mightily contested though, with Puigdemont-Sola posting a 9-2 victory in the first game.

“It was really tough, with lots of running. I missed a few chances to win on points,” the squasher reflected.

Indeed the margin was razor thin as the fourth game was decided with the Cornellian on the short end of 9-7 count.

Last year the stud rallied all the way to the semi-finals, so disappointment was a natural post-tournament sentiment. But the disheartening feelings are a bit easier to swallow being on a team that posted its best finish, No. 5 in the nation, in Cornell history.

Archived article by Gary Schueller