CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - For the second consecutive year, women's squash was dealt an opening round upset in the Howe Cup as the Quakers fell to No. 5 Trinity, 6-3. Penn took three of the last six matches to finish up play, but the Bantams would never fully let go of the momentum that it had built from sweeping the first three matches. Penn now drops into the consolation bracket and will have to win its next two matches this weekend to finish in the top-five nationally.
Saturday, the Quakers will take on No. 8 Dartmouth after the Big Green were dealt a 9-0 defeat at the hands of No. 1 Harvard. Dartmouth and Penn will now play at 1:30 p.m. with the winner advancing to the fifth-place match. Harvard and Trinity will play for a spot in the national finals.
Right out of the gates, Trinity looked strong, sweeping the first wave of matches. At No. 3, Pia Trikha dropped a pair 11-6 games in the first and second, going down 2-0. She battled back, forcing a 10-all score in the third game before her opponent won the next two points, putting Trinity up 1-0.
Colleen Fehm also found herself in a 2-0 hole after moving back into the ladder at No. 9. In her third game, she took an 11-5 victory, but her opponent responded with a fourth game win to close the match. At No. 6, Stephanie Vogel got a big first game victory in extra points, 13-11, to go up a game. However, her opponent took each of the next three games, putting Trinity up 3-0 early.
Chloe Blacker got Penn on the board with a strong outing at No. 8. The Quakers' sophomore allowed just 11 points in her straight game win. This match was one of two repeat matches from Penn's earlier meeting with Trinity this season. In the first meeting with Trinity, Blacker won in four games. She is now 3-1 for her career in Howe Cup matches and has won nine of her last 10 matches this season, seven of which have been three-game victories.
Courtney Jones found herself down a game early at No. 5, but rallied to tie her match with a 13-11 tiebreak win in the second. The third and fourth games also went to extra points, but Jones was unable to finish with victories in either of those games. Rachael Goh would keep Penn alive for the time being with her win at No. 2. After dropping a tiebreak in the first game, 12-10, Goh allowed just nine points in the second and fourth games to go along with an 11-9 win in the third for her three game win. With the win, Goh is now 6-1 at the second position on the ladder.
With Trinity taking a 4-2 lead into the final three matches, Penn knew it needed a sweep to pull out the opening round win. However, Trinity took the matches at No. 1 and No. 7 in straight games to solidify its spot in the semifinals.
At No. 1, Nabilla Ariffin battled throughout and was right in every game, but fell, 12-10, 11-9, 11-8. In the second repeat matchup from the regular season, freshman Leslie Gill had the tables turned against her after winning in three games against Andrea Echverria just a few weeks ago. Today, Gill dropped hard-fought 11-8 and 11-9 first and third games in her loss at No. 7.
Yarden Odinak closed the match with her 38th career win at No. 4. Odinak went up 1-0 with an 11-7 win in the first game. In the second game, she went up 2-0 with an 11-9 win. Odinak the cruised in the final game, winning 11-4, for Penn's third point on the afternoon. Penn's junior is now 5-2 in team championships and has won her opening round match in each of her first three years.
The Quakers now face the same prospects of last season and they will have to win two consecutive matches to finish off the year as a top-five team. Last year, when they were presented with this challenge, the Quakers were also paired up against Dartmouth in the first consolation match. In that match at the Howe Cup, Penn won 8-1 to move into the fifth-place match. This season, Penn already owns 9-0 win over the Big Green.
Trinity 6, Penn 3
No. 1: Catalina Pelaez (T) def. Nabilla Ariffin (P) (3-0), 12-10, 11-9, 11-8
No. 2: Rachael Goh (P) def. Alicia Rodriquez (T) (3-1), 10-12, 11-4, 11-9, 11-5
No. 3: Ashley Tidman (T) def. Pia Trikha (P) (3-0), 11-6, 11-6, 12-10
No. 4: Yarden Odinak (P) def. Natalie Babjukova (T) (3-0), 11-7, 11-9, 11-4
No. 5: Jen Pelletier (T) def. Courtney Jones (P) (3-1), 11-7, 11-13, 12-10, 12-10
No. 6: Robyn Hodgson (T) def. Stephanie Vogel (P) (3-1), 11-13, 11-0, 11-7, 11-5
No. 7: Andrea Echeverria (T) def. Leslie Gill (P) (3-0), 11-8, 11-5, 11-9
No. 8: Chloe Blacker (P) def. Pamela Jimenez (T) (3-0), 11-3, 11-4, 11-4
No. 9: Chanel Erasmus (T) def. Colleen Fehm (P) (3-1), 11-6, 11-5, 5-11, 11-4
No. 10: Lindsay Wong (P) def. Katie Wymard (T) (3-0), 11-9, 11-4, 11-9