Friday’s first-round match at nationals will not be an easy task for the women’s squash team. Cornell is set to play Yale Friday, currently the No. 2 team in the nation. The seventh ranked Red (11-6, 3-4 Ivy League) lost to the Bulldogs earlier in the regular season, but is hoping for a competitive match this time around.
“There isn’t as much pressure for us because we’re playing higher-ranked teams to begin the tournament,” said senior co-captain Lauren Sachvie. “I think that taking some matches off Yale … in the first round would be great for the team. If we could just improve on what we did during the season against them that would be awesome.”
“It will be uphill for us to pull that one [against Yale] off, but on the day anything can happen,” added head coach Julee Devoy. “It would be nice to win that one and … be playing in the top four as opposed to the bottom four of the draw, but as I see it that’s a stretch for us. It’s something that we’re definitely going to give our best.”
If the squad does indeed upset Yale (15-1, 6-1), the women will enter the semifinals of the draw in what Devoy refers to as the “winner’s half.”
A defeat will match Cornell up against the loser of Friday’s clash between Princeton (10-3, 3-2) and Stanford (7-5), the third and sixth seeds, respectively. Statistically speaking, the women will likely face Stanford, a team the Red is itching to exact revenge on after a close match at nationalslast year.
“Stanford [is] our biggest rival, our closest rival,” said Devoy. “[They] are ranked one position ahead of us at No. 6. For us, that’s our big match. [It is] something that we are definitely capable of winning if everybody comes to task on the day. And if we do win that, then obviously that will improve our end-of-year ranking and give us a shot at playing five or six [seed].”
“Ever since I was a freshman we’ve been kind of back and forth with [Stanford], and switching from six to seven [in the nation] with them,” added Sachvie. “I think beating them is kind of our main priority this weekend.”
According to Sachvie, the regular season served as a reminder of what the women are capable of as both a team and as individual players, which she hopes will push the squad into nationals with an extra dose of confidence.
“I think that we’ve come a long way since the beginning of the year. Our team is way more united and the last couple of weekends that we’ve had matches, everyone’s been really supportive,” she said. “Some people have pulled out some really great individual results. Hopefully this weekend we can all come together on the same day, and play really well and take some wins off some of the higher teams.”
“From our matches thus far [the women] have realized that … they are very competitive with the top eight teams that we’re a part of,” Devoy added. “Whereas in the past we really didn’t have much chance, now we really test these teams that are ranked above us. We’ve proven that this season.”
Original Author: Olivia Wittels