February 24, 2004

Squash Plays at Nationals

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The women’s squash team finished 11th at this past weekend’s national championships, held in New Haven, C.T.

Cornell, the 10th overall seed, competed in the tournament’s “B” division, comprised of teams ranked nine to 16. The Red began the weekend with a 9-0 win over St. Lawrence on Friday. But on Saturday, the squashers suffered a tough 5-4 defeat against familiar opponent Amherst. The Red managed a solid consolation win against Colby College on Sunday, finishing an up-and-down season on a high note.

After defeating Cornell, Amherst went on to the B-division’s championship game, where it lost to Bates College. Bates, who enjoyed a 11-3 regular season, was the top seed in the division.

The opening-round St. Lawrence meet was Cornell’s second 9-0 victory this season. Before losing to the Red, the 15th-ranked Saints had suffered only two other 9-0 losses this year. Those came against national powers Trinity College and Williams College.

The Amherst meet was a rematch for the squashers. Back in January, Cornell, in the one of the highlights of its season, defeated the Jeffs in a hard-earned 5-4 win. This time around Amherst effectively utilized its entire ladder and won key matches throughout its line-up.

Coming back from the loss, the squashers defeated Colby, 6-3, in consolation play. Several members of the Red swept their opponents three games to zero.

The weekend saw impressive individual performances from the squashers. Junior Brooke Stetson went undefeated for the tournament, while freshman Caitlin Russell, playing at the top of the lineup, managed to win two separate 3-0 matches.

Yale, who finished the season without a loss, captured the top prize of the tourney, the “A” level Howe Cup. The Elis defeated Trinity, 5-4, in one the closest championship matches in recent memory. The win returns the Howe Cup to the Ivy League for the first time in two years. An Ivy League member had won the overall title every year from 1973 to 2001, before Trinity won back-to-back tournaments.

The tournament decides the final national rankings. Cornell will end the year as the 11th ranked team in the nation, an improvement over last year’s 13th place.

The Red’s 2003 season began with losses to strong Ivy League opponents Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. But the team improved as the year went on, and it enjoyed notable wins against non-Ivy teams. Including the tourney, the Red went 4-3 over its last seven matches.

Several members of the squash team will compete in the individual nationals, in Canton, New York, starting Mar. 5.

Archived article by Ted Nyman