March 1, 2010

Women’s Squash Makes Comeback After 0-2 Start at Championships

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Rebound: in basketball it is a ball that bounces off the rim or the backboard. In physics, it is the reaction from force of impact. In women’s squash, it is what the Cornell team did this weekend at the CSA Team Championships in New Haven, Conn. After losing, 6-3, to third seed Penn on Friday and 5-4 to seventh seed Stanford on Saturday, the Red rallied for a 7-2 victory over Williams and came in seventh overall.

The Red, which finished the 2009-10 regular season in sixth place nationally, had gone into the tournament hoping to at least maintain it’s ranking. The weekend began with a tough match against Penn, after the Red had lost to the Quakers earlier in the year, 7-2. This time, the Red managed to get one more game off of Penn ultimately losing, 6-3. Despite the loss, head coach Julee DeVoy was pleased with the team’s performance.

“They played awesome,” DeVoy said. “They really had Penn put to the test and there were a lot of anxious moments. We just couldn’t quite clinch.”

Sophomore Shivangi Paranjpe (playing in the No. 3 spot) agreed.

“Everyone tried their best,” Paranjpe said. “There were a lot of fighting matches but they just didn’t go our way.”

Even with the loss to Penn, the Red still had a chance to improve its ranking as it entered into the semifinals in the consolation bracket. Cornell hoped to beat No. 7 Stanford and then win in the consolation finals to finish fifth. The Red had beaten Stanford, 6-3, during the regular season and sought the same outcome on Saturday, however after nine close matches (four of which went five sets) and two and a half hours of squash, Stanford wound up on top, 5-4.

DeVoy also added that the match reminded the team that other teams also put in a lot of hard work over the season, and that they were not entitled to anything no matter how hard they worked.

“We’re not the only ones working hard here and that’s what college squash is all about. We played well but so did Stanford and the girls accepted their loss with dignity.”

The next match brought the Red face to face with quite a challenge: winning its final match after two rounds of deflating losses. But this is where the rebound came in to play. With the hopes of improving its record gone, the Red still managed to become motivated enough to defeat Williams, 7-2, finishing seventh overall.

“We were hoping for sixth, but obviously seventh in the nation is still impressive,” said Freshman Maggie Remsen. “We knew we had to finish on a high note and we won pretty decisively.”

Devoy, Paranjpe and Remsen all attributed the team’s impressive ability to rebound on Sunday to good leadership from the seniors and captains and the immense amount of support the players have for each other.

“It’s not always easy to motivate,” DeVoy said of the Williams match. “But they are a closely-knit group of girls who are there for each other and that played a key role in our success on Sunday.”

“The team did a really good job calming us down and helping us turn our nerves into excitement and motivation, especially the captains,” Remsen said.

With a seventh place finish, the team’s squash season has come to a close. Next on the agenda is the CSA Individual tournament, which will take place this weekend in New Haven, Conn. Paranjpe, senior Becca Hazell and freshman Jaime Laird have already qualified for individuals. Junior Jennifer Gemmel and senior Liza Stokes also hope to attend, as they await the release of the official list of the Top-70 players, which is expected to come out today.

Original Author: Katie Schubauer