HARTFORD, CONN.—The No. 4 Harvard women’s squash team fell 8-1 to top-ranked Trinity on Saturday, with the Crimson (3-1, 3-0 Ivy) getting its only win from junior Stephanie Hendricks in the No. 8 slot.
Hendricks dispatched Siobhan Halforty in straight games, 9-3, 9-4 and 9-1, improving as the match progressed.
“Once I get into the rhythm, that’s when I can try to be fancier because that’s when I’m relaxed,” Hendricks said.
At the top of the ladder, co-captain and intercollegiate No. 4 Louisa Hall fell to intercollegiate No. 2 Amina Helal, 9-4, 0-9, 9-1, 9-7.
Helal, the two-time defending intercollegiate champion, jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first game before Hall gained the serve and responded with an authoritative kill to get on the board. A stroke extended Helal’s lead to 5-1, but Hall battled back to 5-4 before Helal won four consecutive points to capture the game.
Hall then came out for the second game and picked Helal apart, blanking her to even the score.
“It just felt like a weird match,” Hall said. “When I was focusing, I really felt like my game was coming together and I could put a string of points together.”
“But then my focus would sort of go and I would lose a string of points,” she added.
That proved true in the third game, when Helal ran the table after Hall took the first point. Several times during the game, Helal caught Hall guessing or leaning one way and sent the ball in the other direction to win the point.
Helal kept cruising in the fourth game, taking a 6-0 lead before Hall clawed back to 6-3. Helal then took two points to set up match ball, but Hall saved three straight—including one on a controversial stroke call—and pulled within one at 8-7 before Helal closed her out.
Junior Lindsey Wilkins, the intercollegiate No. 8, suffered a 9-6, 9-4, 9-0 loss to third-ranked Lynn Leong at No. 2 as Leong relied on her range and clinical, efficient play to win another match for the two-time defending intercollegiate champion Bantams (4-1).
“She’s tricky, she’s deceptive and she’s got a lot of experience,” Wilkins said. “I was beaten. I didn’t beat myself.”
Wilkins took the first point of the back-and-forth first game, but Leong soon pulled ahead at 4-1. Wilkins battled back to take the lead at 5-4, but lost her serve on a tough bounce in the back right corner. Leong took advantage to score two points, but Wilkins recovered to tie the game at six before Leong finished the game with three straight points.
In the second game, Leong extended her streak of consecutive tallies to 10, building a 7-0 lead. Wilkins drew back to 7-4, but Leong put the game away with two more points as Helal—who was refereeing the game—became increasingly reluctant to accede to Wilkins’ requests for lets.
Wilkins then served just once as Leong stormed to a 9-0 victory in the third game.
“She plays a very slow, steady pace and I play at a very fast pace, so her style runs counter to mine,” Wilkins said. “She takes you out of your rhythm.”
Junior co-captain Hilary Thorndike lost to Margot Kearney 9-4, 5-9, 9-4, 9-6 at No. 7. Kearney hit several balls that died in the back corners, knocking Thorndike off her game and forcing her to rely on playing boasts.
“That happens sometimes,” Thorndike said. “If your shots aren’t falling, you can just get overwhelmed.”
“When she did get control, she played perfect drop shots and perfect length,” said Hendricks, who refereed the match. “But it was hard for her to get there.”
Freshman Audrey Duboc and junior Alexandra Johnson also lost in four games at No. 3 and No. 9, respectively.
“Even though it was 8-1, if you look at the individual scores, a lot of them were four games,” Hendricks said. “It doesn’t mean we got crushed. It just means we didn’t pull out a couple of the points that kind of made the difference.
—Staff writer Alan G. Ginsberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.