NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The No. 5-ranked Yale women's squash team fell to 9-3 Sunday with a 7-2 loss at the hands of No. 3 Penn.
After starting the year 9-0, the Bulldogs have dropped three straight to top competition, going down at the hands of No. 1 Princeton and No. 4 Trinity before the loss to Penn today. The good news for the Bulldogs is they will get something of a reprieve against No. 9 Brown and No. 8 Dartmouth next weekend. In addition, they sustained their last two losses without the nation's No. 6 player in junior Kim Hay, suggesting that the true strength of this team may be greater than the recent string of events would suggest.
In the match, juniors Millie Tomlinson and Gwen Tilghman were the two victors for the Bulldogs. The No.2-ranked Tomlinson, playing at No. 1 against No. 13 Nabilla Ariffin, took the first two games 11-2 and 11-5. Ariffin won the third 11-7, but Tomlinson got back on track to pull out the last game 11-4. Tilghman, ranked No. 24, was matched up against No. 16 Pia Trikha, and topped the higher-ranked Quaker in three tight games, winning the first two 11-9 and going all the way to 13-11 in the third.
There were a few tight battles for the Bulldogs, notably the performances by senior captain Katie Ballaine at No. 2 and sophomore Shihui Mao at No. 3. Both players were playing a spot higher than they are accustomed to due to the absence of Hay, and both stepped up big time before falling just short. Ballaine was against Yan Xin Tan, and the match was hard-fought every step of the way. The first game, a Tan victory, set the tone by going all the way to 18-16. Ballaine took the second 11-9, but gave up the tie by dropping the third 11-3. She came back to take the fourth 12-10, and then could not go quite far enough in the fifth, ultimately falling 15-13. Mao's match was similarly close, as the No. 38-ranked Bulldog pushed No. 10 Rachael Goh to five games as well, with the final result coming in at 11-8, 5-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-8.
Report by Calvin Bohn '14, Yale Sports Publicity