HAVERFORD, Pa. – Haverford College's 29th-ranked women's squash team took on No. 23 Connecticut College on Saturday at the Fords' home squash courts in the Gardner Integrated Athletic Center, but the visiting Camels held off a plucky, youthful Fords squad, 9-0.
The season-opener for the Camels (1-0) was closer than the final score indicated, though, as several Fords (1-2) made their ConnCollege opponents earn their points.
Freshman Sarah Madigan nearly pulled off the upset for Haverford at No. 8 against Myra Jacobs. Trailing after a first-game loss, Madigan evened the match with an 11-9 win in the second. A narrow 11-9 loss in the third put the young Ford behind again but Madigan rallied with an 11-8 win in the fourth to forge another tie score. Jacobs fought off Madigan's challenges in the deciding fifth to escape with an 11-9 win to capture the match.
Another freshman, Bethany Simmonds, exhibited strong play at No. 1 for the Fords despite falling 3-0 to the Camels' top player, Leah Puklin. And sophomore Samara Flug was solid at No. 5 for Haverford, dropping her match against Becca Markson, 3-0, but falling just short of capturing game two before Markson took the win, 11-8.
Sophomore Alex Love bounced back from an 11-6 game-one loss at No. 2, to take Ashley Arthur to a tie-break in the second game, but Arthur took the game, 12-10, and went on to capture the match with a game-three victory.
At No. 4, senior Alisa Strayer (pictured) was beaten 11-1 in the opening game of her match against ConnCollege's Lucy Wallace, but Strayer pushed Wallace in the next games, 11-7 and 11-5, before falling in three.
"We're young, with some senior leadership sprinkled in," said third-year head coach Niki Clement. "And what I'm pleased with is how our scores were improving across the matches, rather than declining. A team like ConnCollege is talented and deep. We're not at the same level, sure, but today's results show that if we can improve within a match, we're going to improve throughout the year. I'm looking forward to seeing us progress."
Haverford closed out the fall season with Saturday's match against ConnCollege. The Fords will be in action next at the Pioneer Valley Invitational in Amherst, Mass., in January 2013.