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The Harvard women's squash team steamrolled Williams last night--a minor stepping stone on the path to the big match against Princeton February 5. Williams 0 Harvard 9
Facing a weaker Williams squad, the Crimson took advantage of the home courts of the Hemingway Gymnasium and dominated the match 9-0. The victory allowed the defending national champions to bolster their season record to 4-0 overall, 1-0 in the Ivy League.
Sophomore Lucy Cummings attributed much of the team's success to its extensive conditioning in practice.
"We had double-practices over intersession, which forced us to work very hard," Cummings said. "I was able to move [my opponent] around on the court."
Cummings was not the only example of athletic excellence on the court. Senior co-captain Rosie Stovell, in a Herculean effort, came back from an 8-6 deficit to win her first match 10-9.
Stovell went on to win her next two matches as well.
Although they cruised to victory with a series of stellar performances, Cummings, Stovell and company are anxious in the face of the upcoming challenge--Princeton.
"[Monday's] match is the biggest of the year," Stovell said. "Princeton has a tough line-up. Also, they have been preparing for the [February 5] match for two weeks longer than we have since their exams ended earlier."
Freshman Ivy Pochoda labelled Monday's bout as "the unspoken match of the season." "They have always been in the back of our minds," Pochoda said.
The Tigers' number-one ranking in a Boston Globe poll certainly looms large in the minds of the Crimson players.
Cummings admits that nervousness may be a potential weakness for the Crimson.
"There is a kind of aura about Princeton--they have a history of being good," Cummings said. "Also, the courts [at Princeton] are hot and loud, and we may not have as many fans cheering for us as they have. It will be hard not to be nervous."
"We've got to have confidence in ourselves," Pochada said. "I'm mainly worried about holding it all together--if we do, we will do very well."
Junior Erin Dockery agreed that conditions will be "very rowdy" on Princeton turf.
"We will win though if everybody concentrates and plays the way that she can," Dockery said. "We are not going in as underdogs."
Camaraderie is a strength which may possibly lead to a Crimson victory over the Tigers.
"The team really came together over the intersession," Cummings said.
Cummings dismissed the loss to Princeton in the fall as past history, which will take no toll on the minds of her teammates.
"We're focused on the present rather than the past--that was the pre-season," Cummings said.
With their eyes on the present, the Crimson is ready for the challenge.
"We're really fired up," Stovell said.
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