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December 1, 2011

Women's Squash Update 1

Photo courtesy of Yale Sports Publicity

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Six of the eight Ivy League women’s squash teams have opened their 2011-12 campaigns as the squads have combined for a 9-2 record so far this season. Harvard and Princeton lead the way at 2-0 apiece while Columbia and Dartmouth are each 1-0. Cornell is 3-1 and Brown dropped its only contest of the year.

The Ivy League has seven teams in the top-10 of the Dunlop Women’s College Squash Association (CSA) Team Rankings, including the top three teams in Harvard, Yale and Princeton. Penn is No. 5, Cornell and Dartmouth are No. 7 and No. 8, respectively, and Brown comes in at No. 10. Columbia is ranked No. 16 in the country.

Women’s CSA team rankings as of Nov. 14

Here is a team-by-team look at the Ivy League squads this season:

Brown (0-1, 0-0 Ivy League)
Results & Highlights: Brown dropped its season-opener, 7-2, to No. 11 Bates. The Bears were without several starters who will return next semester after studying abroad in the fall. Freshman Mina Shakarshy and sophomore Meredith Schmidt-Fellner stepped up and recorded victories for the Bears. Last season, Brown reached its second-straight Kurtz Cup Championship, defeating Williams to finish ninth in the country. The Bears return eight players who competed in the 2010-11 CSA National Team Championships.

Brown’s Return to the Courts: Dec. 3 at Wesleyan Round Robin (Wesleyan, Conn.)

Columbia (1-0, 0-0 Ivy League)
Results & Highlights: The Lions will play a full Ivy League schedule for the first time this season as they look to improve on last year’s 12-6 squad that earned the Most Improved Team Award. Columbia played hard in the Ivy League scrimmages in New Haven, Conn., falling to Yale and Cornell before bouncing back to defeat Brown, 5-4. In their season-opener, the Lions defeated Toronto, 9-0, giving up just one game in the process. Columbia returns nine players from last year’s CSA National Team Championships, including senior Liz Chu, who was one of two Lions to qualify for the 2010-11 CSA Individual Championships after winning eight matches in at the No. 1 position.

Columbia’s Return to the Courts: Dec. 3 at Cornell Tri-Meet vs. Cornell and St. Lawrence (Ithaca, N.Y.)

Cornell (3-1, 0-0 Ivy League)
Results & Highlights: The Big Red opened its season at the Williams Round Robin in Williamstown, Mass. Cornell fell to No. 6 Stanford, 7-2, before rebounding to shut out No. 12 Middlebury, No. 9 Williams and No. 13 Mount Holyoke. Sophomore Jesse Pacheco and freshman Lindsay Seginson each picked up four wins over the weekend while senior Clare Berner, sophomore Alexandra Glassman and freshmen Danielle Letourneau and Rachel Au all won three straight-set matches apiece. Senior Lauren Sachvie took a pair of three-set matches, including a win against Williams that involved a marathon 22-20 victory to wrap up the match. The Big Red returns all but one player from its 2010-11 team, including junior Jaime Laird, who earned All-Ivy League Team and second-team All-America honors last season.

Cornell’s Return to the Courts: Dec. 3 vs. Columbia at St. Lawrence at Cornell Tri-Meet (Ithaca, N.Y.)

Dartmouth (1-1, 0-1 Ivy League)
Results & Highlights: After a strong showing in the Ivy League scrimmages that saw the Big Green defeat Brown, 9-0, Dartmouth opened its season against No. 17 Franklin & Marshall, handing the Diplomats a 9-0 loss. The Big Green swept all but one match in the win. Freshman Helena Darling and sophomore Katherine Nimmo posted impressive victories for Dartmouth, as each won their match 11-3, 11-4 and 11-2.  Dartmouth then faced top-ranked Harvard and fell, 8-1. Nimmo was the lone victor for the Big Green. Junior Valerie Wiens returns from last year’s squad; the junior was named second-team All-American and All-Ivy League.

Dartmouth’s Return to the Courts: Jan. 14, 2012 vs. Princeton

Harvard (4-0, 1-0 Ivy League)
Results & Highlights: The top-ranked Crimson is 2-0 to open the season, with wins over a pair of top-10 teams in No. 6 Stanford and No. 9 Williams. Competing in the Williams Round Robin in Williamstown, Mass., Harvard defeated the Cardinal, 6-3, before sweeping the host Ephs, 9-0. Freshman Haley Mendez opened her college career with two wins. The Crimson then defeated No. 12 Middlebury, 8-1, and handed No. 8 Dartmouth its first loss of the season, winning 8-1. Last season, Harvard finished second in both the Ivy League and the CSA National Championships to Yale, going 11-2 on the year. The team returns 2010-11 Ivy League Player of the Year Laura Gemmell, who also earned first-team All-America honors. Senior Nirasha Guruge (first-team All-American), junior Natasha Kingshott (second-team All-American) and senior Cece Cortes (second-team All-American) are also back for the Crimson.

Harvard’s Return To The Courts: Dec. 2 vs. NYU

Penn (0-0, 0-0 Ivy League)
Results & Highlights: The Quakers find themselves ranked fifth in the nation after finishing fifth in the Howe Cap a season ago. Penn finished the 2010-11 season 10-4 overall, including a 2-1 record at the Howe Cup. The Quakers placed third in the Ivy League and return eight of their top-nine in the ladder from last season, including two-time second-team All-American and 2010-11 All-Ivy League honoree Nabilla Ariffin. She is joined by three other three other All-Americans in juniors Rachael Goh, Yarden Odinak and Pia Trikha. Goh also received All-Ivy Team accolades.

Penn’s Return To The Courts: Dec. 3 vs. Princeton

Princeton (2-0, 0-0 Ivy League)
Results & Highlights: The Tigers took third in the CSA National Team Championships despite the fact it was given the fifth-seed prior to the event. Princeton toppled No. 4 Penn to reach the semifinals and battled No. 1 and eventual champion Yale before falling, 6-3. The Tigers took down No. 3 Trinity in the consolation championship match. Princeton started 2011-12 where it left off last season, ranked No. 3 in the country. The Tigers opened their season with a pair of shutout victories over No. 17 Franklin & Marshall and No. 12 Middlebury. Two All-Americans return for Princeton in junior Julie Cerullo (first team) and sophomore Libby Eyre (second team). Cerullo also was named All-Ivy last season.

Princeton’s Return To The Courts: Dec. 3 at Penn

Yale (0-0, 0-0 Ivy League)
Results & Highlights: The Bulldogs posted a perfect season in 2010-11, finishing 17-0 and winning both the Ivy League and the CSA National Championship. Yale enters this season ranked No. 2 but will be hard-pressed to repeat last year’s success as three key members of last year’s championship squad have graduated. The Bulldogs will look to 2010-11 Ivy League Rookie of the Year and first-team All-American Millie Tomlinson and second-team All-American Kimberly Hay to pick up where the departed seniors left off. Tomlinson is the defending CSA individual champion. In its first action of the 2011-12 season, Yale reached the championship match at the Ivy League scrimmages, falling to top-ranked Harvard, 6-3.

Yale’s Return To The Courts: Dec. 3 at Franklin & Marshall, at Haverford