Jumbos fall in two NESCAC matches before Thanksgiving break

The women's squash team fell to 1-7 on the season with losses to Middlebury and Hamilton last week. Daily File Photo

The No. 27 Women’s Squash Team closed out a tough weekend before Thanksgiving break against two difficult opponents, losing to both No. 15 Middlebury College and No. 16 Hamilton College by a score of 9-0 on Nov. 23 and Nov. 22, respectively. Although the Jumbos were not able to pull out any individual wins, there were some positives for the team, as many of the matches were competitive. Against Hamilton, senior tri-captain Paige Dahlman lost a very tight match in five games, 9-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6. First-year Lauren Banner also lost her match in a similarly tight five-gamer, 8-11, 11-6, 11-2, 9-11, 12-10. 

“I was disappointed to lose my Hamilton match,” Dahlman, who played in the second position, said. “I was up two games and entered the third with a lead. Unfortunately, though, I did not manage to string together enough winning points in that game, or the succeeding ones, to win the match.”

According to first-year Claudia Udolf, the team is remaining positive and has been practicing well.

“The team is continuing to stay strong and work even harder in practice,” Udolf said.

“I saw some great squash from other members of our team, especially Udolf,” Dahlman added.

The team lost all of its individual matches against Middlebury in three games each, but Dahlman said that for this contest the results were not indicative of how Tufts played. Although Dahlman and senior tri-captain Ann Bellinger both fell in close matches, 11-7, 11-3, 11-3 and 11-2, 11-7,11-9, respectively, Middlebury was a challenging opponent: The team’s record rests at 3-1, and it has only lost to No. 2 Trinity College.

“I needed to have taken a more aggressive position on court in order to have had a closer match [against Middlebury],” Dahlman said.

Luckily for the Jumbos, this is only the beginning of the season. Udolf, who has been playing in the top position, remains positive about not only her opportunity to become a better player, but also her opportunity to become a better teammate.

“I am really excited about this season,” Udolf said. “As a freshman I want to absorb everything I possibly can.”

Like Udolf, Dahlman was realistic about the two losses.

“Going into that weekend, we were expecting some tough matches — and frankly, it would have been a big upset had we won,” Dahlman said. “Yet, we are so close to flipping the results with some of our opponents — we just need to work out some minor kinks.”

Despite the tough start to the season, Tufts will have two more chances for wins before winter break when they take on No. 32 Vassar College and No. 22 Colby College on Friday and Saturday. When the Jumbos return, however, they will have a busy rest of the season and will look to improve their record, which currently sits at 1-7. Within just the first two weeks of the start of the 2015 season, they will face Bates, Haverford, Boston College, St. Lawrence, Northeastern and Colby in matches that will likely give them ample opportunity to work out their kinks. The team will also be bolstered by former top-position player and junior tri-captain Paget Stanco, who will be returning from a semester abroad. Where she will be ranked on the team does not matter, however, as she will provide much-needed experience to the lineup.