Women’s squash grabs 3rd at NESCAC Tournament

By HEATHER BOEHM

Women’s Squash took anything but a vacation during Feb break. The team got back on the road to face a loaded schedule, competing against top-ranked teams. The northeast tour began with a tough matchup against both Virginia and Harvard, followed by Tufts and was rounded out with strong NESCAC tournament play. Overall, Middlebury came out of the week with an even 3–3.

 The Panthers fell short in Cambridge, succumbing to #10 Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 1 and #1 Harvard. Despite a promising run from Virginia Schaus ’21 in her first match, Middlebury was shut out in both contests. But they quickly dusted themselves off and headed up to Medford.

On Sunday, Feb. 2, Middlebury came out firing against #20 Tufts and kept their momentum. The Panthers only dropped two matches and were able to pick up four shutouts in the fourth, sixth, seventh, and eighth slots.

The Panthers headed into the NESCAC tournament confident as they came off such a decisive win, and they made sure to deliver. The women overcame Bates with a score of 7–2 to lift them into the semifinals on Friday, Feb. 8. Annie Glassie ’20 made the most of her final NESCAC tournament, fighting to the very end in the eighth position. After the first game slipped through her fingers 11–9, Glassie found her way past her opponent in the fifth game to clinch the match.

A few hours later, Trinity proved its worth as the number one seed of the tournament, refusing to allow Middlebury a single match in the semifinals. The Bantams went on to ease past Williams with an 8–1 triumph in the finals. Middlebury then battled for third place against Amherst. The women were able to steal third place from the Mammoths in a tight 6–3 tussle on Sunday, Feb. 9. Amherst threw the first jab and took the first slot in five games. The Panthers quickly punched back with wins from all three seniors including Glassie, Natasha Lowitt ’20, and Mira Chugh ’20 in the seventh, fifth, and eighth positions respectively. Caroline Arena ’23 and Gwen Davis ’22 finished off their opponents to give Middlebury the victory.

Lowitt commented on the work behind her team’s successful weekend.

“We have been spending more time at practice doing drills and playing games that mimic the pressure we feel in real matches,” said Lowitt. “I think this intentional exercise of feeling stressed and uncomfortable at practice has really helped us stay calm and feel prepared in tough matches.

The Panthers are now at the tail end of their season. On Friday, Feb. 21, the women will journey to Yale for the CSA Team Championship to spar against some of the best teams in the nation. On Friday, March 6, a handful of the squad will head down to Pennsylvania for the CSA Individual Championship. 

“Our last weekend of the season is nationals and we are really hoping to move up a spot in the rankings,” said Lowitt. “We have been playing really well against strong teams and want to continue this momentum at nationals.”