Women’s Squash Claims Fifth Place at NESCAC Championships
Issue   |   Tue, 02/07/2017 - 22:14

The Amherst women’s squash team opened postseason play this past weekend, taking on a trio of opponents at the NESCAC Championships. Playing host to the tournament, the purple and white bounced back from an early defeat to go 2-1 and claim fifth place out of the ten participating schools.

Amherst, seeded fifth for the tournament, commenced action on Saturday, when the team took on No. 4 seed Bates in quarterfinal action after both programs received a first round bye. Although the purple and white put up a spirited effort, with six of the nine courts requiring at least four sets, the Bobcats ultimately prevailed 7-2.

Amherst’s talented first-year class continued its remarkable success this season, with Caroline Conway ’20 and Jenna Finkelstein ’20 posting the team’s lone wins on courts five and seven, respectively. While Finkelstein needed only four sets to close out her Bates foe, Conway managed to one-up her fellow first-year, sweeping her opponent by a score of 12-10, 11-6, 11-9.
The closest the purple and white came to picking up a third win was on court five, where Mae Cromwell ’18 fell to the Bobcats’ Molly Brooks in a five set heartbreaker. After falling behind two sets to none, Cromwell battled back to knot the affair at 2-2, only to lose the fifth set 11-3.

With the loss, Amherst moved on to the consolation side of the bracket. As the highest ranked of the four teams in the consolation bracket, the purple and white were drawn with ninth-seeded Colby, whom they handily dispatched on Saturday afternoon.

The lower half of Amherst’s lineup led the way in their win over the Mules. Although Colby managed to capture the first two courts, the purple and white dominated their remaining opponents, taking every other court apart from eight.

Especially stellar in their efforts were Priya Sinha ’19, Haley McAtee ’18, Conway and Katy Sabina Correia ’20, all of whom managed to tally three set sweeps on the third through sixth courts, respectively.

The other two wins for Amherst came courtesy of Finkelstein, who notched her second consecutive four set victory, and Cromwell, who redeemed her earlier defeat to Bates by eking out a five set win on court nine, taking the match 11-9, 13-15, 12-14, 11-5, 11-7.

With the win over Colby, the purple and white guaranteed themselves a spot in the fifth place game on Sunday against No. 6 seed Bowdoin. The Polar Bears were one of the few NESCAC squads that Amherst had not faced during the regular season. The match proved to be an exciting one, and the purple and white needed a Herculean effort to narrowly overcome Bowdoin, 5-4.

The purple and white again faced a stiff test at the top of the lineup, losing each of the second through fifth courts. However, Amherst’s depth once again proved the difference in the match, with the team taking each court below number five in three sets, including Emma Crowe ’19 on the exhibition court.

Finkelstein continued her dominant tournament showing, tallying her third win of the weekend, while both Correia and Cromwell managed to win for the second time. The fourth member of the remarkable first-year class, Jenni Brown, also put up a point for the purple and white on the eighth court.

Ultimately, however, the match came down to court one, where Kimberly Krayacich ’18 secured fifth place for Amherst with a closely contested 11-3, 12-10, 11-9 victory over the Polar Bears’ Sarah Nelson.

This weekend’s contests doubled as the penultimate matches of the season for the purple and white, and the team now awaits word of their postseason future. If selected, Amherst will next compete on the weekend of Feb. 24-26 at the CSA Team Championships, hosted by Princeton University.