Wellesley squash hosted Vassar, Smith and Mount Holyoke in the 2015 Seven Sisters Championship at Harvard University last Saturday, securing their second consecutive title and joining Blue volleyball, cross country, crew, and swimming and diving as 2015 Seven Sisters Champions. Although the Blue swept the field with three commanding victories, dropping only two sets in total, the win was far from certain.
Last year, the Blue snapped Mount Holyoke’s seven- year sweep of Seven Sisters Championships, earning their first title since 2002. Naturally, this year, the Blue had a target on their back.
“To retain anything, you’re going to have pressure on you,” head coach Wendy Berry said. “And this year we have a different team than last year — we have five first- years and we lost our top three players from last year to graduation, so of course there’s going to be more pressure on us.”
In the first round of competition, Wellesley met Vassar, besting the Brewers in every spot for a perfect 9-0 victory. Seven Blue players posted wins in straight sets, while Wellesley number one Sarah Zhang ’18 was the only player to go into five, clinching her final set 11-8 to complete the shut-out.
The Blue marched on for a repeat performance against Smith in the second round, defeating the Pioneers 9-0. Wellesley’s Meera Nayar ’17 and Rhea Advani ’17 each displayed dominant play, dropping only one game each in their straight set victories.
After two decisive wins, Wellesley met their rival, the Mount Holyoke Lyons in the final and effective tournament championship round. Both teams entered the match undefeated, and the victor would either reclaim the throne or introduce a new era of Seven Sisters squash.
Nayar kicked off the match at the number-three spot with another straight set win, while Gabriella Wynne ’16 battled through five sets for a victory at number five. After the Lyons took the number seven singles match, Sarah Tammaro ’15 held off a late comeback at number nine to give Wellesley a 3-1 advantage. The next four matches, played by Kate Loftus ’16, Navisha Gupta ’17, Phyllis Lin ’18 and Advani, put any doubt of a second Wellesley title to rest. Their four victories gave the Blue a 7-1 advantage to secure the championship which concluded in a 7-2 defeat of Mount Holyoke.
“We have had our sights set on this tournament since the beginning of the year,” Tammaro said. “We do a lot of goal-setting as a team, and this was one of our goals from the very first day of the season. We were really excited about the way it turned out. I think it really reflects all of the hard work that’s been put in.”
Now in their final week of the season, the Blue have one more major tournament to focus on: the CSA National Team Championship held this weekend at Harvard. In addition to their current No. 24 national ranking, Wellesley’s Seven Sisters victory has given them confidence and preparation for the season finale.
“I think we are a little more psyched now that we retained the Seven Sisters. Now we know how the [Harvard] courts work, so it’s definitely home court advantage,” Lin said.
Wellesley will compete tonight at the Dana Hall School against Boston College at 7 p.m.
Photo by Anna Cahill ’18, Sports Editor