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Coming off a tiring road trip to Canada, three days before the biggest match of the season and missing one of its top players, the Harvard women’s squash team had plenty of potential distractions last night at the Murr Center.
True to its championship pedigree, though, the No. 2 Crimson (4-0, 3-0 Ivy) remained focused and surgically dismantled a scrappy Dartmouth team, 8-1, to remain undefeated on the season.
Many Harvard players competed not only versus the Big Green (8-3, 1-2), but also against fatigue due to the team’s recent trip to play the University of Toronto in exhibition matches over intersession.
Adding to the challenge was the absence of the Crimson’s usual No. 2, sophomore Lindsey Wilkins. Her illness forced every player to play up a spot against Dartmouth.
“We have so many freshmen on our team, and sometimes it’s tough being pushed up a number,” junior co-captain Louisa Hall said. “I was impressed, though, that all of them pulled out their matches.”
One of these freshmen, Moira Weigel, filled in for Wilkins in the No. 2 spot and battled to a four-game win over fellow freshman Julia Drury, 9-7, 6-9, 9-7, 9-1. Weigel was playing in her first match since suffering a hip and lower back injury and only her third collegiate contest overall.
“Honestly, I felt so tired out there,” Weigel said. “But I thought to myself that I had to win; losing wasn’t an option.”
Losing didn’t seem to be an option for the other team members, either, as three Crimson players weathered five-game matches against their Big Green opponents. At No. 3, freshman Tina Browne beat Martha Ucko (6-9, 9-1, 5-9, 9-4, 9-5), while at No. 8, sophomore Stephanie Hendricks outlasted Jessica Vyrostko, 8-10, 9-5, 6-9, 9-1, 9-4.
Perhaps the most impressive match, though, was at the No. 6 position. Freshman Alli Fast won just one point in the first two games, but grittily fought back to top fellow freshman Jessica Tory in the final three games to win 0-9, 1-9, 9-4, 9-1, 9-3. Tory, who was visibly frustrated by the comeback effort, cursed loudly and threw her racket in disgust at the conclusion of the match.
The only match Harvard dropped was at the No. 9 spot, where sophomore Alexandra Johnson lost in four games to Farrar Evans, 3-9, 10-8, 4-9, 2-9.
At the top, however, it was more of the same for Hall, an All-American, the Ivy League’s best player and one of the nation’s finest. Dartmouth co-captain Charlotte Haldeman was no match for her Crimson counterpart, as she took only two points while Hall’s dispatched her in three quick games, 9-1, 9-1, 9-0.
Harvard’s convincing win sets up a match of unbeaten powerhouses this Saturday when the Crimson hosts No. 1 Trinity at noon.
—Staff writer Daniel E. Fernandez can be reached at email@example.com.
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