No. 17 Women’s Squash Goes 4-5 Over Busy Interterm Against Local Rivals
Issue   |   Tue, 01/24/2017 - 23:10

With a full slate of games scheduled for the interterm period, the two-week period in mid-January seemed likely to define the mettle of this year’s edition of Amherst women’s squash. However, following a series of largely uncompetitive matches, in which the purple and white were both on the giving and receiving end of several blowouts, Amherst’s record stands at 5-5 with much still to be learned about the team.

The purple and white started interterm with a match on Jan. 9 against Yale in what was just Amherst’s second match of the season. After more than a month off from competition, the Bulldogs proved to be too much for the purple and white, dominating the match 9-0 and taking every set.

Amherst’s travails continued two days later when they fell 7-2 in their first conference affair of the season to Middlebury. Significantly closer than the loss against Yale, the purple and white nevertheless were unable to win the points they needed, as the Panther’s steeliness was on display with eight of the nine matches going to four or five sets, six of which went Middlebury’s way. The only Amherst wins came from the underclass tandem of Rachael Ang ’19 and Jenna Finkelstein ’20 on the second and seventh courts, respectively.

Amherst managed to rebound strong from the pair of defeats, though, with a comprehensive 9-0 rout of in-state rival Northeastern on Jan. 15. Flipping the script of their rough loss to Yale less than a week earlier, the purple and white kept the Huskies from winning a single set.

Following the blowout, Amherst returned to the Davenport Courts to play host at the Pioneer Valley Invitational last weekend, where the team managed to post a 3-3 record. The purple and white lost the first match of the weekend, on Friday morning, to Brown by a 7-2 margin. Although Finkelstein put up another strong showing win a win on court seven and Emma Crowe ’19 tallied her second win in two competitive matches, the rest of the Amherst squad was unable to match Brown’s level of play, with six of the seven Brown victories coming in just three sets.

Amherst bounced back from the loss with a pair of authoritative 9-0 wins over William Smith and Hamilton on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, respectively. Losing only four sets total over the two matches, the purple and white demonstrated the enormous potential of this year’s team. Additionally, Priya Sinha ’19, Haley McAtee ’18, Katy Sabina Correia ’20, Finkelstein and Jenni Brown ’20 all recorded a pair of three-set victories, showing both Amherst’s youth and depth.

The purple and white’s run ended, though, with a crushing 5-4 loss to Franklin and Marshall, a loss which the team then followed with a dud of a performance in an 8-1 loss to NESCAC rival Bates. Ultimately, Amherst’s defeat against Franklin and Marshall came down to the fact that each of the purple and white’s top four players lost in three sets, offsetting the team’s impressive performance on the lower courts. Meanwhile, Finkelstein was the one bright-spot on Sunday morning against Bates, notching a three-set 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 win on court number seven.

Amherst did manage to close out the tournament on a high note, however, defeating Colby 9-0 to bring the teams record to 5-5 on the season. With only Kimberly Krayacich ’18 needing a fourth set, the purple and white put on a clinic against their NESCAC rival, with Finkelstein winning her eighth consecutive match and bringing her impressive first-year record to 9-1.

Amherst will try to build off this momentum, when the team hosts the Little Three Championships this Saturday, Jan. 28. The purple and white face Wesleyan at 10 a.m., followed by a matchup against archrival Williams at 4 p.m.