On Feb. 5, the Yale University team traveled to Amherst and left with a convincing 9-0 victory over the somewhat overwhelmed Jeffs. Although Amherst looked to use their home court as an advantage, the Bulldogs were simply too strong at each position. The Jeffs were unable to take a game from the visitors and lost all nine matches by scores of 3-0. Since Yale was ranked third in the last national poll, it is unlikely that the 10th ranked Jeffs will slip in the rankings.
The women returned to NESCAC competition last Saturday when they hosted the annual Little III championships. The Jeffs began the morning with a dominating 9-0 victory over Wesleyan University. The win was highlighted by impressive scores across the board, especially from sophomores Ali Gibbs and Ashley Harmeling and from senior co-captain Susanna Burke. Harmeling, who played the first position, lost only two points in her easy victory over Sa Suwanarat. Burke posted a commanding 9-2, 9-0, 9-0 victory over Dina Guth. Gibbs also only lost two points throughout the three game match. The win over Wesleyan snapped a three-match losing streak, and improved the Jeffs’ record to 12-8 on the season.
“It was a good win. Everybody played really well,” said Burke.
Although the day started on a promising note for the women, the afternoon was much less successful. The Jeffs were unable to post a serious threat against NESCAC rival Williams College and lost 8-1 to the visiting Ephs. Gibbs posted the lone win for Amherst, a 9-7, 4-9, 9-2, 10-8 victory over Williams’ Joanna Leathers. Although many of the matches were closely contested, Amherst was unable to put together consecutive solid games, and consequently did not pose a legitimate threat to the sixth-ranked Ephs. It is unlikely that the loss will affect the Jeffs’ latest ranking.
Amherst closes out their regular season when they travel to Yale University again this coming weekend to compete in the Howe Cup Nationals against many of the country’s elite teams. The Ivy League, along with the NESCAC, will be well-represented at the tournament, so the Jeffs will have an opportunity to avenge some of their early season losses.
A strong showing on Saturday is necessary in order for Amherst to receive high seeds in the following weekend’s National Championships, hosted by Trinity College.