PHILADELPHIA - Women's Squash nearly knocked off the No.1 team in the nation Saturday at the Ringe Courts. However, the Quakers (6-3, 3-2 Ivy) could never get the fifth match that they needed, dropping the last three matches of the afternoon. The Quakers jumped out to a 4-2 lead, but could not put the finishing touches on the upset bid. Annie Madeira, Pia Trikha, Yarden Odinak , and Chloe Blacker all picked up victories for the home team. The heartbreak from the Quakers came from nearly pulling two upsets in addition to the four victories. In the end, Harvard (7-0, 3-0 Ivy) showed why it is ranked so high, winning the last three matches to clinch the 5-4 victory over Penn.
Odinak (9-0) got the Quakers off to a good start with her quick 3-0 victory at No. 4 to maintain her perfect record on the season. Her opponent, June Tiong, came into the match ranked ninth in the country. Nevertheless, Odinak made the match look like so many before, winning 11-6, 11-6, & 11-6.
As the first round of matches were wrapping up, it looked as if the Quakers would be facing the early deficit. However, Blacker, playing at number eight, had other ideas. After dropping the first two games, Blacker knotted the team score up at two matches each with her rally. She took the last three sets 11-6, 12-10, 11-9.
Like Odinak, Trikha would also run her season record to a perfect 9-0 with the victory at number five. Playing the 17th ranked Natasha Kingshott proved a difficult test early on for the Quaker unbeaten. However, she would show that her unblemished record was no fluke, pulling out the first two games in tight 16-14 & 12-10 scores. The final game was all Trikha as she rallied for the 11-2 game victory to finish off the match.
Reining College Squash Association Player of the Week Annie Madeira also did her best to try and ensure that her final weekend playing at Ringe Courts would be a memorable one. Playing the 13th ranked player in the country was not going to stop Madeira in her final home weekend. She made the number three match look like a formality, winning in three games (12-10, 11-7, 11-6). This win marked the 50th victory in her career at Penn. The victory put the Quakers up 4-2, but unfortunately this would be the last victory on the day for the women's side.
Hyland Murphy and Rachael Goh almost pulled off the needed victory to vault the Quakers during the course of the day; however both dropped five game matches. Goh, playing at number two, nearly knocked off seventh ranked Nirasha Guruge, winning the first and third game. Despite the other three games going right down to wire, she just could not get the decisive game. Murphy, playing at number nine, would take the second and third games after dropping the first, but also could not claim her decisive game.
Another strong Quaker performance came from Nabilla Ariffin at number one. Playing against the defending National Champion, Ariffin gave the number one player in the country all that she could handle, but ultimately fell in four games.
The Quakers will now return to the courts tomorrow to finish out the Ivy League Schedule at 11 a.m. against Dartmouth. The Quaker women will then cap off the regular season with a matchup against Stanford immediately following the match with Dartmouth.
No. 1 Harvard 5
No. 4 Penn 4
No. 1: No. 1 Laura Gemmell (H) def. No. 15 Nabilla Ariffin
(P) (3-1) 11-5, 10-12, 11-4, 11-5
No. 2: No. 7 Nirasha Guruge (H) def. No. 18 Rachael Goh (P) (3-2) 11-13, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 13-11
No. 3: No. 28 Annie Madeira (P) def. No. 13 Alisha Mashruwala (H) (3-0) 12-10, 11-7, 11-6
No. 4: No. 20 Yarden Odinak (P) def. No. 9 June Tiong (H) (3-0) 11-6, 11-6, 11-6
No. 5: No. 56 Pia Trikha (P) def. No. 17 Natasha Kingshott (H) (3-0) 16-14, 12-10, 11-2
No. 6: No. 37 Cecelia Cortes (H) def. No. 62 Courtney Jones (P) (3-0) 12-10, 11-5, 11-8
No. 7: No. 42 Sarah Mumanachit (H) def. No. 59 Stephanie Vogel (P) (3-0) 11-3, 11-6, 12-10
No. 8: No. 67 Chloe Blacker (P) def. No. 29 Bethan Williams (H) (3-2) 7-11, 5-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-9
No. 9: Alexandra Zindman (H) def. No. 80 Hyland Murphy (P) (3-2) 14-12, 8-11, 13-15, 11-6, 11-3
Ex: No. 51 Vidya Rajan (H) def. Josy Blair (P) (3-0) 11-2, 11-2, 11-2