No. 2 Penn Edges No. 5 Yale in Ivy Opener

Dec. 6, 2008

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - No. 5 Yale proved that it has improved and gotten much closer to No. 2 Penn, but ultimately the Bulldogs lost to the defending Ivy League champions 5-4 Saturday afternoon at the Brady Squash Center. The Bulldogs hung tough, tying the match at 4-4, before last year's CSA runner-up, senior Kristen Lange, clinched the match for the Quakers with a win at No. 1.

Sophomore Caroline Reigeluth made her opponent work hard but ultimately fell 3-0, losing game three 10-9. Junior Katharine Ettinger overcame a 9-8 deficit to win game two at No. 9, but ultimately fell 3-1. Junior Alia Aziz got Yale on track at No. 3, dominating her match and winning 3-0.

But even more impressive was the performance of Yale's freshmen.

"Our freshman players really stepped up today," said head coach Dave Talbott of the two wins the three freshmen in the lineup contributed. Alexandra Kerr controlled the pace of her match in a 3-0 win, but it was Rhetta Nadas that provided a spark for the Bulldogs late in the match.

After falling behind two games to none, Nadas gained confidence in game three and got more aggressive on the ball with each point. She was eventually able to even the match at two. The crowd cheered her on as she turned a 6-6 tie in game five into a 9-6 victory to tie the team score at four matches apiece, though shortly after that Lange was able to beat sophomore Logan Greer 3-0 at No. 1 to earn the victory for the Quakers.

"We've been trying to get quicker and more aggressive about getting on the ball [at practice]," said Talbott. "The spots where we won, the girls were faster on the ball."

Freshman Alexandra Van Arkel had a tough draw in senior Alisha Turner, losing to the former Penn No. 1. Yale's captain, senior Tara Wadhwa, battled hard in her match at No. 7, losing 3-1. Talbott emphasized the fight Yale had in its matches. Sophomore Sarah Toomey showed this attitude, persevering to overcome a 2-1 deficit in games to win at No. 2 in a match that featured long rallies and difficult points.

The margin this time around represented an improvement over last season, when Penn won 7-2.

"It can be tough, after a loss, to focus on how much we have improved since last year," said Talbott, who noted how much the team really wanted this match. "We can use this as a confidence builder and the players will realize how close they are."

Yale's next match will be the U.S. Team Championships at the Brady Squash Center Dec. 12-14. The Bulldogs will resume Ivy play next month when they travel to Dartmouth.

Results:
No. 1 Kristen Lange (P) def. Logan Greer (Y) (9-4, 9-2, 9-0)
No. 2 Sarah Toomey (Y) def. Sydney Scott (P), 3-2 (9-0, 6-9, 3-9, 9-2, 9-2)
No. 3 Alia Aziz (Y) def. Britt Hebden (P), 3-0 (9-1, 9-1, 9-0)
No. 4 Rhetta Nadas (Y) def. Christina Matthias (P), 3-2 (6-9, 6-9, 9-3, 9-0, 9-6)
No. 5 Alisha Turner (P) def. Alexandra Van Arkel (Y), 3-0 (9-0, 9-2, 9-2)
No. 6 Annie Madeira (P) def. Caroline Reigeluth (Y), 3-0 (9-5, 9-5, 10-9)
No. 7 Tara Chawla (P) def. Tara Wadhwa (Y), 3-1 (9-5, 8-10, 9-4, 9-2)
No. 8 Alexandra Kerr (Y) def. Taylor Booth (P), 3-0 (9-1, 9-2, 9-2)
No. 9 Emily Goodwin (P) def. Katharine Ettinger (Y), 3-1 (9-0, 9-10, 9-5, 9-0)

report by Neil Horowitz '09, Yale Sports Publicity