On Friday, Feb. 24, Wellesley Squash began the 2017 Epps Cup (D Division) at the College Squash Association (CSA) Championship at Princeton University, with a 5-4 win over Connecticut College in the first round. Women’s teams in the D Division, ranked between 25 and 32, compete for the Epps Cup at the National Team Championships, which is a permanent trophy awarded to the winners. Towards the beginning of the match, Wellesley was falling behind with a score of 4-3, despite wins by Eva Mullarkey ’20, Haley Connor ’18 and Ruby Feng ’17. Seniors Meera Nayar and Rhea Advani guaranteed victory for the Blue by simultaneously winning their respective matches.
The Blue proved that they deserved to be ranked 27th, compared to Conn. College at 30th. “Beating Conn. College was the best thing I could have asked for at Nationals as a senior,” Advani commented. The Blue saw their first loss in four years to Conn. College last month, which made defeating them at Nationals even more rewarding.
The team went on to battle , Hamilton College, ranked 26th, on Saturday afternoon in a testing semi- final. Even though Connor ’18 and Eunbie Coe ’20 won their matches, the Blue were defeated 7-2. This match was as close as competition gets, with three of the losses being five match games. Advani lost in five, after being up 9-7 in the fourth, while Meredith Curry ’18 and Audrey Fok ’18 were both defeated 3-2 in tight matches.
After losing the semifinal, the team moved to the consolation bracket to fight for the title of third place. Mount Holyoke College won the consolation draw 7-2 on Sunday. This match closed the season for the Blue, whose hard fight resulted in significant achievements for Nayar and Advani. After a shaky start in her match, Nayar, who began playing at No.1 only this semester, triumphed in a five game rally. Advani continued her four-year long victorious streak against MHC by winning her match. Feng too, played a tough game in the last match of her college career, finishing off with a score of 3-1 in MHC’s favor. Feng, Advani, Curry and Fok were also presented with Scholar Athlete Awards by the CSA to recognize the athletes’ academic success.
“Our training through winter session paid off every player pulled their weight and played great squash,” Advani said, content with the quality of the matches. On hopes for the future of Wellesley Squash she added, “With the help of skilled current players and incoming recruits, I hope that the team can move down in ranking to go back to playing in C Division soon.”