After suffering a loss to the Tigers in the Ivy scrimmages only three weeks ago, the Red and Blue were looking for revenge.
The fifth-ranked Penn women’s squash team got its retribution, beating No. 3 Princeton, 6-3, at Ringe Courts Saturday in its season opener.
Penn jumped out in front early, as the Quakers won three of its first four matches. Junior Rachael Goh, second on the ladder, won a back-and-forth match against Elizabeth Eyre (11-9, 11-5, 11-9). Goh took advantage of Eyre’s growing frustration throughout the second game and capitalized, taking the game in dominating fashion.
Sophomore Courtney Jones also contributed a key victory in an intense and grueling match decided by a fifth game. Jones, playing number six on the ladder, cruise to victories in her first two games 11-9, 11-1. Her opponent, however, wouldn’t fold in three games. After Jones lost two consecutive tiebreakers, she would take control again and win the fifth game, 11-8.
“Every time you play a team like Princeton, you need to play your best,” said coach Jack Wyant, who is in his seventh year at Penn.
By that point the Quakers were up, 3-1, going into the second round of matchups. However, the overall match would not be decided until two freshmen, No. 7 Colleen Fehm and No. 9 Leslie Gill, bullied their opponents in their respective collegiate debuts — both won 3-0.
“It’ll be important for the freshmen to get some more college matches under their belts,” junior co-captain Pia Trikha said. The Quakers play a non-league match against Williams College this upcoming Saturday.
The Red and Blue clinched the overall match before Trikha tacked on another win for her team. She outlasted her opponent by winning the last three games after dropping the first one. Princeton scraped together two more wins at the number one position — where Penn junior Nabilla Ariffin fell in three sets — and five spots.
“It was an exciting way to win, especially being the underdog,” said Trikha.
Penn has beaten Princeton the past three years, and once again is moving in the right direction to make a push in the stacked Ivy League.
Trikha and Wyant both say the team’s fitness has vastly improved since the Ivy scrimmages in early November, which cannot be understated against the third-ranked team in the nation.
The quest for an Ancient Eight championship is just starting for the young Penn team, which carries no seniors.
Still, the Red and Blue have to wait until January for their next Ivy match when the team travels to Cambridge, Mass., to face No. 1 ranked Harvard.
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