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Yet again, the Ivy title will come down to Harvard-Yale.
With a pair of wins this weekend over league rivals No. 4 Princeton and No. 5 Penn, the No. 2 Crimson women’s squash team remains unbeaten in the Ivies heading into its final dual match of the season.
Harvard (6-1, 5-0 Ivy) will face off against fellow league undefeated Yale, the No. 1 team in the nation and the defending Ivy and national champion, in New Haven on Feb. 22. It will be a rematch of the 2005 finale, when the Bulldogs eked out a 5-4 win on Harvard courts to clinch the league crown.
But the weekend’s victories—a 6-3 win over the Quakers on Saturday and a strong 7-2 showing against the Tigers yesterday—have the Crimson clicking at exactly the right time to reclaim the title.
“These are supposed to be the toughest matches of the season,” sophomore Jen Blumberg said, adding that against Princeton in particular, “we were just on.”
HARVARD 7, PRINCETON 2
After a loss to Trinity last weekend and an uneven performance against Penn the day before, Harvard needed to regain its groove.
“[The loss] made us figure out what we needed to do,” Blumberg said. “We had to get it together and step up.”
The Crimson did just that yesterday with an aggressive, on-point effort against a dangerous Princeton (5-2, 4-2) squad.
“They’re playing out of their heads,” Harvard coach Satinder Bajwa said approvingly as he watched his team take down the Tigers 7-2.
No winning Harvard player dropped more than one game, and both junior No. 2 Kyla Grigg and sophomore No. 4 Supriya Balsekar swept their opponents, 3-0.
Blumberg dropped her first game to Ali Pearson, 9-2, but rebounded to take the next three games, 9-4, 9-5, 9-5.
“She’s a very strategic player,” Bajwa said of Blumberg. “She works hard, and gets better game by game.”
Bajwa declared that “our top five [to] six girls shouldn’t lose to anybody,” and indeed, all seven of Harvard’s wins came at flights one through seven.
Freshman No. 1 Lily Lorentzen held off Claire Rein-Weston, 9-2, 6-9, 9-1, 9-1, and junior No. 5 Audrey Duboc bounced back from a loss on Saturday to top Gen Lessard in four games, 5-9, 9-5, 9-2, 9-3.
Captain and No. 7 Allison Fast, who along with senior Laura Delano were playing in their final home dual match, beat Margaret Kent, 10-8, 9-1, 4-9, 9-5.
“People really came out today and stepped up to the plate,” Fast said. “We took advantage of our talent and experience.”
The Crimson’s only losses came at No. 8 and No. 9, where Delano fell to Carly Grabowski, 3-1, and Liz Berylson lost to Christina Fast—the younger sister of Harvard’s captain—in three games.
HARVARD 6, PENN 3
The Crimson rebounded from its first loss of the season with a 6-3 win over the Quakers (7-3, 2-3) on Saturday.
Though Penn never really threatened during the match, Fast called the team’s play “shaky.”
Lorentzen and Grigg both won their matches 3-0, a week after losing to their Trinity counterparts. Lorentzen beat Alisha Turner, 9-5, 9-1, 9-0, while Grigg dominated Radhika Ahluwalia, 9-3, 9-4, 9-0.
Harvard’s losses were by senior No. 8 Laura Delano, sophomore No. 9 Emily Stork, and Duboc, who fell to Penn’s Tara Chawla in five games.
—Staff writer Lisa J. Kennelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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