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Women’s Squash | Tufts loses to Bowdoin, Brown, then upsets B.C.

Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 09:12

The women’s squash team played a doubleheader matchup on Nov. 23 — first as the home team against Bowdoin and later as the away team against Brown.

In the afternoon, the Jumbos traveled to Brown University to face off against the Bears, but were swept, losing 9-0. Brown completely dominated visiting Tufts, as the Bears won each of the nine games in three sets.

Sophomore Paget Stanco was the top scorer for the Jumbos in the first position, but lost, 11-4, 11-5 and 11-9, to clinch the point for the Bears.

First year Lynn Cheng, the Jumbos’ No. 2 player, was able to score 13 total points against her opponent — the second most for the Jumbos on the day — but she was also defeated in three straight sets, 11-5, 11-6, 11-2.

Earlier in the day, Bowdoin traveled to Tufts’ home courts in Cambridge and also defeated the Jumbos in nine sets. Stanco was defeated by Bowdoin’s No. 1 Rachel Barnes in four sets, 4-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-9, after winning the first set. Freshman Anna Bezahler, senior Caroline Howe and junior Ellie Monroe all took their matches to four sets as well, but Bowdoin overmatched the Tufts squad and swept the Jumbos.

The closest match of the day came from junior Sally Pratt in the No. 7 spot, who went five sets with her opponent. She won the first set 14-12, but proceeded to lose the next two sets 11-9 and 11-1. She rallied in the fourth set and won, 11-8, but eventually fell in the fifth set, 11-5.

“The losses taught us that we need to improve our mental mindset, because after oftentimes leading in a match, we would lose our mental focus and would ultimately lose,” said sophomore Tammara Gary, who plays in the No. 3 spot for the Jumbos. “We needed to realize that we are just as good as the teams we play.”

Pratt also commented on where she believes the team can improve.

“We definitely need to be focusing more in practice and learning from mistakes,” she said. “We need to use our matches against better squads as a learning experience to see what we can work towards.”

The team had better luck a few days later, as it hosted local rival No. 28 Boston College at the Belmont Hill School on Nov. 25, and came out on top in a hotly contested match with a final score of 5-4. Despite playing short-handed without Stanco, the No. 33 Jumbos were able to pick up the upset win.

Gary, playing in the second position, made quick work of her opponent, as she was able to defeat Boston College’s Cassandre Burke in 3 sets, by scores of 11-7, 11-4 and 11-6, respectively.

In the No. 3 position, junior Ann Bellinger dueled it out with her opponent in a second game that went to 17 points. However, she was able to pick up the second point for the Jumbos by winning in three sets, 11-6, 17-15 and 11-8.

Bezahler, playing in the fourth position, picked up a third key point for the Jumbos as she, like Gary, also made quick work of her opponent, winning in straight sets 11-5, 11-6 and 11-9. 

After close losses by Howe and Pratt in the fifth and sixth positions, respectively, the score was knotted at 3-3. Sophomore Sophie Laing, in the No. 9 spot, scored the fourth point for the Jumbos with her victory in three sets, 11-7, 11-6 and 11-4, over Boston College’s Nora Elson.

The No. 7 spot, however, won the match of the day as Monroe went to five sets and extra points with her opponent with the score tied up at 4-4. She won the first, third and fifth sets, dropping the second and fourth in between. The fifth set went all the way to 17 points, as Monroe was able to pull off the 17-15 victory for Tufts.

“We were very nervous before B.C, but when coach gave us a speech about mental preparation and how we were just as good as any other team in the region, we were all pumped to play.” Gary said. “Our confidence and motivation shot up, which definitely helped us win the match.”

Gary added that she believed Monroe’s performance was the best on the day.

“Ellie [Monroe] had an incredible match,” she said. “She won the game for us in the fifth set, which is like our overtime period. It was so awesome.”

At this point in the season, Pratt believes the team is where it needs to be.

“Team chemistry this season has really been incredible. We have a lot of new players who have been integrated into the team,” Pratt said. “We spend a lot of time bonding together, and we work with the men’s team a lot, so we definitely think we’re a cohesive unit.”

As for the future, the team has only three more matches this semester. They will be up against NESCAC rivals Bates and Middlebury, as well as Bard College, starting Saturday against the Bobcats.

“Bates and Middlebury are awesome teams,” Pratt said. “We are going to work hard for those this week and are going to give it our all so we can end the semester on a high note.”

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