January 25, 2006

Bulldogs Stay Unbeaten With Win Over Trinity

Jan. 25, 2006

The two-time defending national champion Yale women's squash team came from behind in three key matches to fend off third-ranked Trinity 5-4 tonight before a large crowd at the Brady Squash Center.

The Bulldogs, ranked No. 1 in the latest CSA poll, pulled out the victory with comebacks by their top two players, Michelle Quibell and Miranda Ranieri to improve to 7-0 on the season.

Ranieri probably had the highlight match of the night in her 3-2 decision over Lauren Polonich on the main court. Leading two games to one and ahead 7-2 in the fourth, Ranieri lost the flow and that game, 9-7. Polonich quieted the crowd by continuing her run and jumping out to a 7-2 lead as she was ready to put it away. That's when the Bantam sophomore started to make some mistakes and let Ranieri back in. The Bulldog sophomore won seven straight points to capture the match.

"I had a similar match last year against Harvard and pulled it out as we won 5-4, so I was thinking about that tonight during my match," said Ranieri. "I kept saying to myself, the teams are 4-4 and this match will decide it... even though it wasn't. I like to have the pressure on me. I need the coaches to tell me that I need to win for the team to pull it out. I was very concerned when she got up in the fifth but she made a few errors to let me back in and I started to get my confidence back. I loved the loud crowd, it made me play better."

Quibell lost the first game to Larissa Stephenson, 9-5, before racing back to win 9-2 in the second. Stephenson grabbed the momentum in the third by winning seven of the first nine points, but the No. 1 player in college squash over the last two winters won seven straight points to close out the match.

As soon as Quibell cemented the win, the crowd moved over to the other side of the Brady Center to see Catherine McLeod try to close out Ashley Clackson in straight games. McLeod was up 2-0 and way ahead in the third but neither player could take control. The extremely long game finally came to an end with a pretty shot by the Yale junior from New Zealand.

"Many of our kids could have played better tonight, but they showed a lot of guts to come back in so many matches," said Yale Associate Head Coach Gareth Webber, who saw his top three players earn wins tonight. "That is the sign of a championship team, though there is still a lot we can build on from here."

Yale has now won three straight over the Bantams, who won the national championship in 2002 and 2003.

Results

Yale 5, Trinity 4

1. Michelle Quibell (Y) def. Larissa Stephenson (T), 3-1

2. Miranda Ranieri (Y) def. Lauren Polonich (T), 3-2

3. Catherine McLeod (Y) def. Ashley Clackson (T), 3-0

4. Vaidehi Reddy (T) def. Amy Gross (Y), 3-2

5. Maria Restepo (T) def. Lauren McCrery (Y), 3-1

6. Kate Rapisarda (Y) def. Fernanda Rocha (T), 3-2

7. Anna Detter (T) def. Sarah Barenbaum (Y), 3-0

8. Nicola Shiels (Y) def. Margot Kearney (T), 3-1

9. Siobhan Knight (T) def. Jessica Balderston (Y), 3-1

report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Assistant AD & Sports Publicity Director