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Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024

Gritty Performances Abound in Women's Squash Tourney

Author: Allison Hertel

Middlebury women's squash has had a busy two weeks. Saturday, Jan. 26 they braved blizzard-like conditions to play in the St. Lawrence Quadrangle at the Robie Squash Center, losing to St. Lawrence 3-6 and beating Connecticut College 9-0. Middlebury beat St. Lawrence earlier in the season, but on Saturday the Saints were able to avenge its earlier loss. Co-captain Ellie Toan '02 said, "It was disappointing to lose to St. Lawrence, even though we've lost two players since we played them last, while they have picked up two."

The Saint Lawrence Saints went 3-0 on the weekend, maintaining its impressive 16-3 record. It took the top four games from Middlebury. Coach David Saward said, "We lost a close match to St. Lawrence. I felt we played and competed poorly against St. Lawrence. They were around the same level as us, but we did not play up to our potential, and hence we lost 3-6." Britt Cosgrove '04, Beth Seeley '05 and Lauren Smith '05 won their matches. Coach Saward said, "I felt that Beth Seeley played very well as did Britt Cosgrove and Lauren Smith. Liza Franyo '04 lost 2-3 in a very tight match."

The match against Connecticut College was more successful. Coach Saward said, "Sarah Herrup ['02] played very well as did our new number nine player Kea Anstey ['04]." Anstey and Jess Harrison '04 have recently joined the team. Saward said, "A special mention should be made for Jess Harrison. She is playing very well at number 10. She won both her matches last weekend and will be playing number nine this coming weekend when we travel to Mount Holyoke." Toan said of the newfound success, "Jess and Kea fit right in on the team. The team dynamics have been great this season."

On Jan. 23, Middlebury lost to squash powerhouse Dartmouth 9-0 at Dartmouth. Coach Saward said of the match, "Dartmouth was better than us."

At the Amherst Invitational, Jan. 18 and 19, Middlebury won three of its four matches. On that Friday it lost to Amherst 7-2 and then took Wesleyan 9-0. Against Amherst, Holly Haertel '05, playing in the number two position, defeated Alexandra Gibbs 3-0 and number seven player Smith defeated Lindsey Snyder 3-1. On Saturday the Panthers beat Franklin and Marshall 8-1 and Colby 5-4.

Toan forfeited her match against Amherst on Friday due to illness and was unable to play against Wesleyan. She came back to play on Saturday, still battling illness. Her match was the deciding match against Colby. She said, "Winning my match against Colby was one of the greatest feelings I've had from playing squash. The team needed one more win, and it's really rewarding to finish a match knowing the importance of that win."

So far the team's record is 9-6 as it looks forward to this weekend when they will travel to Mount Holyoke to face Mount Holyoke, Vassar and Hamilton. These three teams are all ranked below Middlebury, and the Panthers will be hoping to play strongly and come away with three wins.

Then the team will then travel to the national championships, and play for the prestigious Howe Cup from Feb. 14-17. Yale, who is hosting the tournament, will be searching for their first title since 1992, while Middlebury will be hoping for upsets against all of the squash powerhouses.