No. 3 Bulldogs Fall 5-4 to No. 4 Trinity

Issey Norman-Ross. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Issey Norman-Ross. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

HARTFORD, Conn. – Wednesday, the collegiate women's squash scene got even murkier as No. 4 Trinity topped previously undefeated No. 3 Yale. 

In a season already full of confusion at the top of the standings, where No. 5 Penn won the Ivy Scrimmages and then-No. 4 Princeton upset No. 1 Harvard, things got even more confusing on Wednesday as Trinity topped Yale, the original No. 2 team. 

The match itself went right down to the wire.

In the first set of matches, Wee Nee Low knocked off sophomore Shihui Mao at No. 3.  Low picked up the first game 11-6, but Mao battled back to take the second 11-5.  The third game was 11-2 in Low's favor, but Mao came back strong in the fourth before falling 14-12.  At No. 6, No. 33 Natalie Bubjukova beat No. 24-ranked junior Gwen Tilghman, again in four hard-fought games, the first game was Tilghman's by a score of 12-10, but from there on Bubjukova won close game after close game, finishing the match with a 12-10, 11-9, 12-10 streak.  At No. 9, freshman Annie Ballaine bumped Yale up to 1-2 with the only sweep of the day, knocking off No. 59-ranked Chanel Erasmus 11-9, 11-8, 11-9. 

In the second group of matches, No. 5 Catalina Pelaez topped No. 6 Kim Hay, a junior, in four games to put Trinity up 3-1.  However, Yale had no intentions of giving up.  At No. 5, junior Lilly Fast, ranked No. 40, took on No. 39 Robyn Hodgson and won the match 11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6.  Following up that strong victory was sophomore Anna Harrison, playing at No. 8 against No. 31 Jennifer Pelletier.  Harrison is ranked only No. 82, but showed that she deserves better as she jumped out to an early lead, taking the first and second games 11-6 and 11-9, respectively.  In the third game Pelletier bounced back 11-7, but Harrison asserted herself in the deciding fourth game to win 13-11 and tie up the match for Yale at 3-3. 

With only three matches left to play, sophomore Issey-Norman Ross put the Bulldogs up 4-3 at No. 7 against Sachika Balvani.  Balvani took the first game 11-9, but the No. 41-ranked Norman-Ross was better the rest of the way, taking the second and third games 11-7 and the fourth 11-8.  Needing a win to stay alive No. 25-ranked Ashley Tidman went up against No. 28 Katie Ballaine, the Bulldog senior captain, at No. 4 and evened the score at 4-4 with an 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10 win. 

The only match left playing was at No. 1 between No. 2-ranked junior Millie Tomlinson and what has proven to be her bane in college – a freshman with Egyptian roots.  Kanzy El Defrawy, in the tradition of Harvard's Amanda Sobhy (who is an American, but with Egyptian parents), jumped out to an 11-9 win in the first game against Tomlinson.  Tomlinson game back strong, winning the second game 11-8 and the third 13-11, but El Defrawy told the story from there, taking the fourth game 11-3 before winning the rubber game 11-9.  El Defrawy is currently ranked No. 57 in the world in women's singles, and has been ranked as high as No. 29. 

With the loss, Yale falls to 9-1 (2-0 Ivy) on the season.  The team will pick up play February 2nd against No. 1 Princeton, and will play No. 5 Penn on the 3rd



1. Kanzy El Defrawy d. Millie Tomlinson, 11-9, 8-11, 11-13, 11-3, 11-9
2. Catalina Pelaez d. Kim Hay, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 11-3
3. Wee Nee Low d. Shihui Mao, 11-6, 5-11, 11-2, 14-12
4. Ashley Tidman d. Katie Ballaine, 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10
5. Lilly Fast d. Robyn Hodgson, 11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6
6. Natalie Babjukova d. Gwen Tilghman, 10-12, 12-10, 11-9, 12-10
7. Issy Norman-Ross d. Sachika Balvani, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8
8. Anna Harrison d. Jennifer Pelletier, 11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 13-11
9. Annie Ballaine d. Chanel Erasmus, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9



Report by Calvin Bohn '14, Yale Sports Publicity