December 4, 2008

Ivy League Play Starts against Defending Champs Saturday

Dec. 4, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldogs started off this season knowing the path to an Ivy League title would have to go through defending champion Penn. No. 5 Yale will get an opportunity to take down the No. 2 Quakers this weekend when they host them at the Brady Squash Center on Saturday at 12:00 p.m.

Penn has had a 3-0 start to the season, including its most recent victory over No. 6 Stanford -- coached by former head coach of Yale women's squash Mark Talbott, Yale head coach Dave Talbott's brother. The Quakers are already 1-0 in conference play, having taken down No. 7 Cornell 7-2, but the Bulldogs are confident after playing them closely in a 5-4 loss in the Ivy Scrimmage.

"This is really significant for the women to open with the defending Ivy champs," said Dave Talbott. "It's even all the way through though. We were up 4-0 in the [Ivy] scrimmage and lost 5-4, so it is definitely a lot tighter than last year [when Yale lost 7-2]."

Penn returns all of its top seven players, while Yale will have at least four newcomers to the starting lineup. The biggest shoes to fill will be those of last year's CSA individual champion, Miranda Ranieri '08, who defeated Penn's No. 1 Kristen Lange in the CSA final. This year it will be sophomore Logan Greer taking on Lange at No. 1, while sophomore Sarah Toomey and junior Alia Aziz will each ascend to Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. While Talbott acknowledges all of the returning talent for the Quakers, he has seen his team improve immensely since losing to Penn for the third straight time last year and knows the Bulldogs will be ready.

"We struggled at the top spots last year, so it will be important to win at the top," said Talbott. "Everyone has really focused on getting their games to the next level."

report by Neil Horowitz '09, Yale Sports Publicity