In a series historically dominated by Princeton, Penn women’s squash showed today that the trend is starting to tilt in their favor.
Following in the footsteps of the men, the No. 3 Red and Blue grinded out an impressive 6-3 win over the No. 4 Tigers.
With the victory, Penn (6-2, 2-1 Ivy) has taken five of the last seven matchups with Princeton (5-2, 1-2) and brings its overall head-to-head record to 9-42. This capped off a big three-day stretch for the Penn squash program after the men’s squad beat the Tigers on Monday, making this the first time in history both squads beat Princeton in the same season.
“It’s a historic week for us,” head coach Jack Wyant said. “For the first time ever our men and women are better than Princeton.”
After losing to No. 1 Harvard and No. 2 Trinity by the same 6-3 decision, the third-ranked Quakers won their first game this season in which they lost more than one individual game.
In the early going, it became clear that a close match would follow as the first rotation saw both teams pick up two wins.
Sophomore Yan Xin Tan made quick work of Princeton’s Libby Eyre, who finished last year as the eighth-best player in the CSA individual rankings, in a three-set sweep. Senior co-captain Chloe Blacker continued her unbeaten streak with her four-set win at the eighth position. The win took her record to 5-0 on the year with three of those wins coming in Ivy play.
Senior Courtney Jones and freshman Michelle Wong both lost their matches and allowed Princeton to even the score heading into the final rotation of matches. Despite Jones’ three-set loss, she and Blacker have made an invaluable contribution to the third-ranked Quakers in the form of leadership.
“They’re terrific leaders” Wyant said. “You can’t overstate how valuable they’ve been.”
Facing the daunting task of finding three more wins in the lineup, women’s squash answered the call in a big way. The Quakers won the next three matches and took four out of the last five to clinch the victory.
Haidi Lala picked up her second Ivy win of the season with her sweep of Princeton junior Nicole Bunyan. Freshman Anaka Alankamony made a big statement to the squash world with her four-set takedown of the top under-19 player in the country, Maria Elena Ubina.
“I played a really fast-paced game,” Alankamony said. “She couldn’t handle the fast pace I played.”
With Penn up, 4-2, sophomore Carey Celata kept the Quaker momentum going with her four-set win over senior Alex Sawin of the Tigers.
After the victory was clinched, No. 9 Alissa Agnew fell in four games while No. 5 Camille Lanier squeaked out a thrilling five-set win to create the final scoring margin.
The win also brings Penn to a perfect 6-0 against teams ranked lower than them in the CSA rankings and a perfect 5-0 in at Ringe Squash Courts, where the Quakers will take on Yale this Saturday.
“I’m confident that we’re gonna play great and win on Saturday,” Wyant said. “I feel like we’re gonna finish no lower than second [in the Ivy League].”
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