Amherst began the weekend on a high note with a 9-0 win over Wesleyan. Amherst’s number one seed, Ashley Harmeling ’05, defeated Sa Suwanarat in three games without giving up a single point. The Jeffs played solidly up and down the ladder, not giving up a single game to the Cardinals.
Charged with confidence, the Jeffs then faced the eighth-ranked Ephs, who had a distinct home-court advantage. The Jeffs played strong squash, though only Harmeling was able to pull out a win against Eph Clare Whipple.
“This was a good win confidence-wise for [Harmeling] as Whipple has been ranked as high as 20 in the country and I believe Ashley is around 40,” said Head Coach Jacqueline Bagwell. Caroline Shannon ’07 and Emily O’Brien ’07, playing the number three and five spots, respectively, played well and managed to get a game apiece off of their opponents. “[Harmeling] of course played a great match, but Shannon, O’Brien and [Emily] Zandy [’07] also impressed me with improvements they have made,” said Bagwell.
The next day at Trinity College, the Jeffs fell to sixth-ranked Princeton, 9-0. Princeton, along with the other Ivies, traditionally has a strong program. “In those situations, you really have nothing to lose,” said co-captain Emily Stark ’04. “You put it all out there, and see what happens.”
Despite the loss, the Jeffs hold their heads high as they begin training for next week’s Howe Cup, to be played this Friday through Sunday at top-ranked Yale University. Amherst plays 14th-ranked Vassar College in the first round.
Amherst could potentially face Bates College and Cornell University, the ninth- and 10th-ranked teams in the nation, respectively, in the semi-final and final rounds. The Jeffs lost only 5-4 to both teams in the regular season.
“We saw some good matches this year,” said Stark. “The level of play seen against Williams needs to increase if we want to beat Bates and Cornell this weekend.”
The Jeffs are confident that they have improved over the course of the season and can in fact beat both teams. “We have a really good shot at winning our division, which hasn’t happened in the four years that I have been here,” said Stark.
Currently the Jeffs are focusing on augmenting the depth of their ladder. “The number nine game is just as important, and does just as much for the team as the number one game. Both Bates and Cornell have deep ladders. We need to play well across the board,” concluded Stark.