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Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024

Proven Squash Squad to Howe Cup, Final Test

Author: Alison Hertel

Middlebury took all three of its matches at the Mount Holyoke/Smith Invitational Feb. 1-2. On Feb. 1, it swept Mount Holyoke College 9-0. The next day its success continued in the defeat of Tufts University 6-3 and Vassar College 6-3.

Newcomer Holly Haertel '05 had a 3-0 weekend as did Britt Cosgrove '04 and Lauren Smith '05.

Against Mount Holyoke, Co-Captain Sarah Herrup '02, in the number one position, played a tough match, finally taking her opponent 9-6 in the fifth game. Coach David Saward said, "I thought Sarah Herrup played a gutsy match against the number one-seeded player at Mount Holyoke."

Versus Tufts, Beth Seeley '05, playing in the number five position, defeated Leigh Checchio in a hard fought five games that tested the endurance of both players. Co-captain Ellie Toan '02 noted that the team traveled without a number 10 player who usually would play an exhibition match. She said, "It was especially gratifying to win our matches with a compromised team."

With regard to the season as a whole so far, Saward said, "The team did a fantastic job in that every match was on the road and played in a court that was different dimensions to the one they trained on. They deserve a great deal of credit for getting on with the task and focusing positively on their performances."

The women's squash team heads into the Howe Cup, which acts as the squash national championship at Yale Feb. 14-17 with a competitive 12-6 record, seeded 13th, which places them soundly in the middle of the B division. There are four divisions, which consist of A as the strongest and D as the weakest. The B division includes the University of Pennsylvania, Amherst, St. Lawrence, Bowdoin, Bates and Wellesley colleges. Haertel said, "Beating Mount Holyoke, Tufts and Vassar this weekend was great, not only because the team played well, but also because it will improve our seeding for the Howe Cup this weekend."

At the tournament Middlebury will face St. Lawrence first. Though the Panthers fell to St. Lawrence earlier in the season, Toan said, "We think we have a shot this time because there were two very close matches last time."

At last year's Howe Cup Middlebury finished a disappointing seventh out of eight teams in the B Division. However, in the 2000 Howe Cup Middlebury was third out of eight teams, falling to only Bowdoin and Williams, a result they would like to repeat or even improve. The veteran Toan added, "We're all really excited for the Howe Cup."