No. 2 Yale Readies for Showdowns With No. 8 Dartmouth, No. 1 Harvard
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Friday, the Yale women's squash team will travel to Dartmouth before hosting Harvard in the regular season finale. The Bulldogs and the Crimson are the only undefeated teams in the nation entering the weekend, and are on pace for a showdown to determine the Ivy League title.
Dartmouth is only 4-5 on the season, with an 8-1 loss to Harvard, 9-0 losses to No. 5 Princeton, No. 4 Penn, and No. 3 Trinity, and a 5-4 loss to No. 7 Cornell. The Big Green's best win came over No. 9 Bates. The team has four ranked players returning from last season, starting with Corey Schaefer at No. 34, followed by No. 60 Rebecca Lau, No. 91 Sarah Loucks and No. 100 Kensy Balch. Schaefer, Lau and Loucks play in the top three spots for Dartmouth.
Yale, on the other hand, is 14-0 and has seven ranked players, all in the top 70. Sophomore Millie Tomlinson leads the way at No. 1 nationally, with fellow sophomore Kim Hay next in line at No. 15. Senior captain Rhetta Nadas is ranked No. 33, sophomore Gwen Tilghman is No. 46 and junior Katie Ballaine is No. 47. No. 56 senior Alexandra van Arkel and No. 68 ranked sophomore Lillian Fast finish off the list.
Yale's Sunday matchup should prove far more challenging. Last year Harvard and Yale played out almost the exact same situation when the Bulldogs travelled to Harvard on the final day of the season with both the Ivy League title and the No. 1 ranking on the line. Yale won 5-4 with a clinching five-set victory from Caroline Reigeluth '11, then reaffirmed its No. 1 ranking with another 5-4 victory over Harvard in the finals of the Howe Cup eight days later.
This year Harvard is 12-0 and ranked No. 1 nationally and beat Yale 6-3 in the Ivy Scrimmages that kicked off the 2011-12 season. However, Yale played that match without freshmen Shihui Mao and Issey Norman-Ross, and the rest of the team has had months to get into peak playing shape. Nevertheless, Harvard's team is stacked with highly ranked players. Laura Gemmell finished last season ranked No. 2 overall, and her only career loss came to Tomlinson in the finals of the CSA Individual Championships. She is currently playing No. 2 for the Crimson, behind undefeated freshman Amanda Sobhy. Sobhy has not yet lost a game, and the most points she has allowed in any match is 14. No. 5 ranked Nirasha Guruge will play at No. 3, and freshman Haley Mendez will be in the fourth spot. No. 20 Natasha Kingshott and No. 18 Cecelia Cortes are Nos. 5 and 6, and No. 30 Sarah Mumanachit is at No. 7. Unranked Julianne Chu and Megan Murray finish out the top nine for Harvard, leaving No. 66 Vidya Rajan on the bench.
Report by Calvin Bohn '14, Yale Sports Publicity