Squash: Women validate ranking at Howe Cup

In the first match of the tournament the Jeffs faced a dangerous opponent in the 12th-ranked Colby White Mules, a team the Jeffs had narrowly beaten, 6-3, earlier in the season. Amherst got off to a hot start as co-captain Ashley Harmeling ’05 won her first match in straight sets. Amherst’s number-two player Caroline Shannon ’07 dropped the first game of her match but came back to win in four games. Although first-year sensation Libby Martin ’08 dropped the third match, Emily O’Brien ’07 stepped up her play to beat Nina Delano, a player she had lost to in straight sets earlier in the year. Amherst never lost the momentum from there and went on to win the match, 7-2.

Following their win over the White Mules, the Jeffs moved into the semifinals for a grudge match against Cornell. The Big Red knocked the Jeffs from the top 10 earlier in the year when they earned an excruciatingly close 5-4 victory. Hoping to get over the hump and exact revenge, the Jeffs fell just short once again, losing 6-3. Cornell went on to fall in the finals of the Kurtz Cup to Bates College while Amherst moved on to play St. Lawrence.

After the disappointing loss to the Big Red, the Jeffs looked to maintain their ranking against the Saints. This was another squad that Amherst had already met earlier in the year, winning previously 8-1. Whether it was the disappointment from the loss to Cornell, exhaustion from the earlier matches or a combination of the two, the Jeffs didn’t bring their ‘A’ game into the last match. The result was a much closer match than they expected: a 5-4 victory.

The team was not happy with their repeat performance against the Big Red, but knew things could have gone worse. “The loss to Cornell was tough, but I think our team really came together and we were able to pull [the St. Lawrence match] out in the end,” said senior co-captain Ali Gibbs. “It was really satisfying to end the season with a win.”

Next weekend Harmeling, Shannon and possibly Martin will travel to Hanover, N.H. to compete in the CSA Singles Championships hosted by Dartmouth College.