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In sweeping a much weaker Amherst squad 9-0 yesterday, the Harvard women’s squash team also cleared away some residual gloom from its 8-1 loss to Trinity last Saturday.
Since the No. 2 Crimson (5-1, 3-0 Ivy) entered play certain of beating the No. 11 Jeffs (11-7), the match featured an alternate ladder to accommodate class conflicts of regular players. In the absence of a quartet of sophomores—No. 2 Lindsey Wilkins, Hilary Thorndike, Stephanie Hendricks and Alexandra Johnson—unfamiliar faces shared the spotlight last night.
Sophomore Mimi Stovell, who usually competes in the No. 12 slot, shone in the No. 8 spot with the only perfect 9-0, 9-0, 9-0 win against Amherst. The win came over the Jeffs’ Rebecca Muse-Orlinoff.
“It was fun to get to play and count for the eighth position,” Stovell said. “It was nice that I played well.”
Harvard’s ladder features an array of freshmen and sophomores very close in skill level starting around the No. 4 slot. Players have been shuffling up and down throughout the season, since the lineup is usually decided by challenge matches. In Stovell’s case, junior co-captain Louisa Hall noted that the luck of the draw has usually placed her out of competitive play.
“Mimi got to play No. 8, and she was such a strong eight,” Hall said. “It was nice to get her to play a match in there.”
Freshman Allison Fast, who played at No. 7 against the Bantams, jumped up to No. 5 and also impressed with a 9-4, 9-0, 9-0 victory over Ali Gibbs. Fast approached the Amherst competition unfazed after the Trinity match.
“We had a long meeting after [the Trinity match],” Fast said. “Even though we lost, we all had really close matches. And we knew that [Amherst] wasn’t going to be that hard of a match, so we weren’t nervous.”
For other members of the team, gearing up for the Jeffs was more difficult. Hall noted that the only five-game match of the contest sophomore Laura Delano’s in the fourth seed.
“It’s a hard match to focus for, since we’re still dealing with Trinity,” Hall said. “It’s hard to get yourself psyched up. [Delano’s] clearly a far better player, and the games she won, she won easily.”
Delano dropped the first two games to Amherst’s Liz Martin to start the match, but collected herself to preserve the Crimson shutout with a 7-9, 10-8, 9-2, 9-5, 9-3 win. Her effort was applauded by the Harvard men.
“It took a lot of guts to be two down and dig yourself out of that hole against an underrated team like Amherst,” sophomore Guarav Yadav said.
Hall faced a former teammate at No. 1 when she squared off against Jeff sophomore Ashley Harmeling. A testament to the superiority of the Crimson, Harmeling played in the eighth slot for the Crimson as a freshmen before taking a year off and transferring to Amherst.
“It was important after Trinity to go out there strong,” Hall said. “Everyone was sharp and ready to go.”
Co-captain Ella Witcher maintained the only undefeated Harvard individual record with a 9-0, 9-0, 9-5 win.
Next for the Crimson is an All-Ivy weekend against No. 6 Penn and No. 4 Princeton. While both teams are ranked lower than Harvard, Ivy opponents are always high-energy competitions.
“Penn’s going to be a really good match,” Hall said. “And Princeton always ends up rallying to play us.”
—Staff writer Brenda E. Lee can be reached at email@example.com.
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