NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Two Bulldog sophomores and the present and future captains all received honors from the coaching staff after the team finished the season ranked No. 2.
Sophomore Millie Tomlinson won the team's Most Valuable Player award, which is awarded to "that member whose ability and personal achievement is of greatest value to the Yale Women's Squash Team". Tomlinson played at No. 1 all season for the Bulldogs and confirmed her No. 2 national ranking with a stellar season. Tomlinson had a 17-3 record overall, but her record belies the actual dominance Tomlinson demonstrated. All three of her losses came to Harvard freshman Amanda Sobhy, who took the American college squash scene by storm this season, going undefeated at No. 1 for the national champion Crimson. Sobhy also took first place in the Ramsey Division of the CSA Individual Championship, beating Tomlinson for the third time. Tomlinson won the CSA Individual Championship last season, and no other college player had been able to defeat Tomlinson since the very first match of her career.
Fellow sophomore Kim Hay was awarded the John A. Blum Squash Award, which is "presented to that member of the team who, through character, dedication, and sportsmanship, has made the greatest contribution to Yale's Women's Squash". Hay played at No. 2 for the Bulldogs and was ranked No. 6 nationally. Hay finished with a 16-3 record, with her losses coming to the nation's Nos. 2, 3 and 7 players. Hay fell to Tomlinson in the quarterfinals of the Individual Championships, but besides that was only defeated by Laura Gemmell and Elizabeth Eyre, both of whom Hay defeated at a different point in the season. Hay's defeat of Gemmell in the regular season finale was especially impressive, as it not only put Yale in prime position to top Harvard in the match, but also represented the only defeat of Gemmell by a player besides Tomlinson.
The captain of the team, senior Rhetta Nadas, was awarded the Coaches' Special Award, which goes to "that member whose presence was vital to spirit of women's squash at Yale". In addition to her duties as team captain, Nadas had a stellar season on the court. Nadas matched Hay's record going 16-3 on the season. Impressively, Nadas started off the year with a 15-match win streak. Even in her losses, Nadas played tough squash, with one of her defeats going to five games and another to four. Additionally, two of those three losses came at the hands of No. 12 Nirasha Guruge, who would play at No. 1 or No. 2 if she were not on a Harvard team that featured the seemingly unbeatable Sobhy and No. 3 ranked Gemmell.
Finally, next season's captain, junior Katie Ballaine, won the Hunt Welch Most Improved Player award. Ballaine finished the season ranked No. 28, a large improvement on where she finished the season before, which was No. 47. Ballaine spent the majority of the season at No. 5, though she played as high as No. 3, amassing a 14-2 record after starting the season 10-0. In both of her losses, Ballaine was able to win at least one game, and one of her defeats came at the hands of No. 15 Cece Cortes, another Harvard player that plays at a spot lower than her talent level would put her at most schools. As captain, Ballaine will lead the Bulldogs in the 2012-13 season as they try to regain the national championship from Harvard.
Report by Calvin Bohn '14, Yale Sports Publicity