PHILADELPHIA - The women's squash match was everything you would expect in a clash of Ivy League schools ranked in the top-four nationally. The two squads traded matches back-and-forth the entire afternoon and it wasn't until Yale's returning national champion, Millie Tomlinson, clinched the No. 1 match that Yale (14-0, 5-0 Ivy) was able to escape the Ringe Squash Courts with a 5-4 win.
Penn (6-3, 3-2 Ivy) picked up two sweeps to go along with a four-game and five-game win, but just could not capture that elusive fifth victory to pull the upset.
Yale landed the first victory of the afternoon at No. 6 when Leslie Gill dropped just her third match of the season in straight games. However, fellow freshman Colleen Fehm would pick up her teammate with a five-game win at No. 9. Fehm jumped out to 1-0 and 2-1 leads with 11-9 and 11-7 victories in the first and third games, but her opponent answered back with second and fourth game wins. In the decisive fifth game, the two players went to tiebreak, but Fehm gutted out a tiebreak victory, 12-10, knotting the team score at one-all.
Pia Trikha fought back hard in her match at No. 3. Down a game after one, the co-captain came up with an 11-6 win in the second game. After a hard-fought 11-9 loss in the third, Trikha again battled back with another 11-6 win in the fourth game. In the decisive fifth game, the two squad captains went back-and-forth before Yale's senior took the tiebreak, 12-10, giving Yale the 2-1 lead in matches.
Courtney Jones, would then knot the match back up at two-all with her four-game win. She jumped out early, winning the first, 11-7, before a hard-fought 11-8 loss in the second game. However, she would run off consecutive 11-6 and 11-9 wins in the third and fourth games for the win at No. 5. Yale would then take the lead back with a pair of wins at No. 8 and No. 2. Chloe Blacker played each game tough at No. 8, but would see her six-match winning streak come to an end against Yale. At No. 2, Nabilla Ariffin was right in each and every game, but just could not pull out the winners when she needed them most as Yale took a 4-2 lead and Penn was in need of a rally.
The Quakers would do just that as Yarden Odinak and Stephanie Vogel each came up with dominating 3-0 sweeps. Vogel was the model of consistency in her win at No. 7. She took all three of her games by 11-5 finals in her sweep, which was her sixth win of the season. Odinak took a tiebreak, 12-10, in her first game to go up 1-0. From there, she allowed just seven points the rest of the way in her 3-0 sweep for her team-leading seventh win of the season. More importantly, this win tied the match at four-all with one match to go.
That remaining match featured two returning first-team All-Americans. For Yale, Tomlinson was also the returning national champion. Penn's No. 1, Rachael Goh, played her tough throughout. The returning champion got off to 1-0 lead with an 11-7 win in the first game and following a second game win would close the match with a hard-fought 11-8 win in the third game to seal the team win for Yale.
Penn now has one remaining weekend on the regular season schedule. The final home match of the seasonwill be next Friday, February 10, against Columbia. The Quakerswill be on the road during the final Sunday of the regular season.
Yale 5, Penn 4
No. 1: Millie Tomlinson (Y) def. Rachael Goh (P) (3-0), 11-7, 11-4, 11-8
No. 2: Kim Hay (Y) def. Nabilla Ariffin (P) (3-0), 11-8, 11-9, 11-9
No. 3: Rhetta Nadas (Y) def. Pia Trikha (P) (3-2),11-5, 6-11, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10
No. 4: Yarden Odinak (P) def. Alexandra van Arkel (Y)(3-0), 12-10, 11-5, 11-2
No. 5: Courtney Jones (P) def. Katie Ballaine (Y) (3-1), 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9
No. 6: Gwen Tilghman (Y) def. Leslie Gill (P) (3-0), 11-9, 11-5, 11-7
No. 7: Stephanie Vogel (P) def. Lillian Fast (Y) (3-0), 11-5, 11-5, 11-5
No. 8: Shihui Mao (Y) def. Chloe Blacker (P) def. (3-0), 11-7, 11-7, 11-9
No. 9: Colleen Fehm (P) def. Issey Norman-Ross (Y) (3-2), 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10
No. 10: Lindsay Wong (P) def. Carolyn Brown (Y) (3-0), 11-5, 11-5, 11-9