SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – The 29th-ranked Haverford College women's squash team (5-3), dropped a pair of matches at the Pioneer Valley Invitational on Friday, falling in an afternoon match at No. 21 Wesleyan (5-5) by a 7-2 final before traveling up to the road to Massachusetts, dropping an 8-1 decision to No. 25 Mount Holyoke (10-4). The contests were the first for the Fords in 2019, as Haverford returned to competitive action for the first time in over a month with the traditional 2019 lid-lifter in New England.
#21 Wesleyan 7, #29 Haverford 2
Haverford put up a valiant fight against the Cardinals in the afternoon match in Middletown, Connecticut. The Fords were forced to move the match against Wesleyan up a day due to the approaching winter storm, and competed at the home of the Cardinals.
Maddie Hager picked up a win at the fourth spot on the ladder, dispatching Natasha Feenstra in four games after dropping the first (7-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-6).
Sunny Chai also grabbed a win at the sixth position, with a four-game victory over Annie Roach (11-9, 11-6, 10-12, 17-15). Chai was able to put Roach away in a spirited fourth game that reached extra points. Elsewhere, Isabelle Johnson was locked in a tight battle with Ananya Vir at the second flight, taking her opponent to five games before dropping an 11-9 decision in the deciding fifth game. Johnson registered wins in the second and fourth games in the narrow loss (11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9).
Sophia Jackson also gave her opponent Sofia Melian-Morse a battle at the seventh spot on the ladder, returning from her semester abroad by taking a 12-10 victory in the first game before falling in four (10-12, 11-4, 11-2, 11-6).
#25 Mount Holyoke 8, #29 Haverford 1
In the nightcap, the Fords traveled across state lines to face off with the Lyons on the Mount Holyoke campus. Haverford found its win from Hager at the fourth flight yet again, as the sophomore got the best of Lessly Portillo in a four-game victory (11-9, 11-6, 12-14, 11-2). With the pair of triumphs, Hager stretches her win total this season to seven. Hager has won five matches in a row for the Fords, and is perfect at both the second and fourth flights this season.
Other highlights for the Fords included Chai battling her opponent at the sixth spot, with a second game victory by a tally of 11-3. Ultimately, the final was 11-9, 3-11, 11-5, 11-9 in favor of Kuzivakwashe Madungw of Mount Holyoke.
Haverford was slated to face off with Colby to wrap up Pioneer Valley Invitational play tomorrow, but due to forecasted inclement weather that will make travel treacherous, the squad will return to campus early in the morning on Saturday.