After a three week layoff, the women’s squash team will host a very important weekend with major individual and team implications.
Tomorrow the Red hosts Trinity, the nation’s top team and perennial favorite for the NCAA team championship. On Sunday, the Red will have to gear back up and prepare for the Ontario Team Challenge here in Ithaca.
As expected, All-American and world-ranked senior star Olga Puigdemont-Sola has provided brilliant play in each of the Red’s matches and has carried the squad — at times all by herself — for much of the season. Puigdemont-Sola is undefeated in match play, playing at the number one spot in each contest, and is looking forward to her final attempt at a national title run.
Other contributions have almost exclusively come from the Red’s next two slots.
Seniors Andrea McNeely and Melinda Lee have played in the number two and three spots, respectively, for the Red all season long. These veterans will be called upon this weekend for huge performances against their powerhouse opponents, as will the younger bottom half of the lineup, which has struggled due to a lack of experience.
The lady squashers boast a very unique mix of players, having six upperclassmen to accompany four first-year players. It is a learning process for the young team and as the season progresses the wisdom of the veterans being relayed to the younger generation should begin to materialize.
Hopefully that process will be propelled by the importance of this coming weekend and the wagon will begin to operate at full speed rather than hobbling on three wheels alone.
The Red’s strongest performance of the year came against Penn earlier in the season. It was the only match that saw a strong performance from the entire team from the first seed down to the ninth. The Red took the first four and the last three brackets in the lopsided victory and displayed a strength in depth that has been absent since.
The Red is currently 2-5 in match play and cannot count on Puigdemont-Sola alone if it plans on stealing a match from the strongest program in the nation year in and year out.
Archived article by Scott Jones