Last Sunday, the Cornell women’s squash team found itself facing the team it had been waiting for all weekend — first seeded Bates College. The Red, having advanced to the final round of the Kurtz Cup, pushed Bates to the limit, yet was unable to emerge victorious.
“We knew it was going to be a fight,” said head coach Julee Devoy. “We had a couple of close matches that went the other way, but that’s the way it goes some days.”
The Red began the tournament on Friday against William Smith. In a match reminiscent of Cornell’s win over the Herons two weeks ago, the Red defeated William Smith by a count of 9-0 and moved on to face Amherst in Saturday’s second round.
“We weren’t looking past William Smith, but Amherst was our first goal,” Devoy said. Although the Red’s win over the Lord Jeffs was more decisive than its previous victory this season — a 5-4 win in January — it still needed strong efforts from junior Allison Laycob and senior Claire Zipf in order to advance with a 6-3 victory. Laycob, playing No. 6 for the Red, helped lead Cornell to victory with a 3-0 win in one of the first matches of the day.
“[Laycob] really set the tone out there,” Devoy said. “It was really important for the other girls to see her determination.”
Zipf, after dropping the first set 10-9, helped seal the match for the Red with a hard-fought 3-1 victory.
“She really dominated those last three sets,” Devoy said. “It was a great morale booster and inspired the girls to get psyched for [their next match with] Bates.”
The win earned the Red a shot at the Kurtz Cup championship, as well as a chance for redemption against Bates College, a team that had recently handed it a 5-4 loss. While the Red played tight matches all the way down the lineup, it couldn’t grab the momentum it needed and ended up taking a 6-3 loss.
“Bates was very strong at the bottom of the order,” Devoy said. “Some girls found the pressure a little difficult to handle, but overall I am thrilled with their performance.”
Just as in its previous match, the Red was strong at the top of the lineup, but could not find wins from below the No. 4 player in its lineup. Sophomore Margot Dickson dropped three close matches playing at No. 5 and Laycob won the second set before falling in the last two.
In the tightest match of the day, junior Cory Warfield won the first two sets only to lose the final three by counts of 9-6, 10-8 and 10-9. Earning victories for the Red were freshman Mairin Barnes, senior Brooke Stetson and senior Joanna Wolfson.
“They all performed really well,” Devoy said. “We had a great unit and we all wanted to win, but it was just one of those things that was not meant to be.”
While the Red’s season is effectively finished, it will send Barnes, Warfield and Laycob to compete in the individual championships at Darmouth beginning March 4.
Archived article by MATT GORMAN
Sun Staff Writer