Jumbos return home with a no. 19 national ranking

First-year Sahar Tirmizi swings at the ball in a match against Dickinson at Harvard's Murr Center on Jan. 20. (Ray Bernoff / The Tufts Daily)

The Tufts women’s squash team (17-7) return from the College Squash Association (CSA) Team Championships in Princeton, N.J. ranked 19th in the countryOn Sunday, the Jumbos faced off against William Smith College (14-8), and they were victorious with a 6-3 win.

First-year Claire Davidson fought a long five-game match in the first position. She won the first two, dropped the next two and came back strong to wrap up the last game. Sophomore Hannah Burns in the second position won in four games, as did sixth-position first-year Sahar Tirmizi.

In third position, first-year Catherine Shanahan swept her opponent, playing dominant first and third games. Sophomore Sahana Karthik, in fourth position, dropped in four games, resulting in the Jumbos’ first loss. Junior Lauren Banner, in fifth position, posted a clean sweep of her opponent, with scores of 11-6, 11-5 and 11-1.

Sophomore Chista Irani, in seventh position, was swept in a tough three games, as was ninth-position first-year Katherine Deveaux. Eighth-position sophomore Sinclair Meggitt fought for a four-game win, tying up the last game with a tidy 11-5.

After beating the Dickinson Red Devils (9-12) the day before, the Jumbos progressed to face the Franklin and Marshall Diplomats (7-13) on Saturday in the semi-finals. The Diplomats proved to be much stiffer competition, sweeping the Jumbos 9-0.

The first six positions were swept by Franklin and Marshall in three games each. Seventh position Irani put up a close five-game fight, winning the first game for a strong start, but ultimately fell 11-6 in the last game. Junior Gabrielle Salomon, in ninth position, fought for four games. She held her opponent to five points for the first game, but proceeded to drop the next three.

“Franklin and Marshall is really good,” sophomore Olivia Ladd-Luthringshauser said. “It was an understandable loss. We just had to put them in the past, understand that there are a lot of really great players on that team, and focus on William Smith.”

The Jumbos began their weekend with a close 6-3 win against Dickinson.

“I think we started the weekend a little nervous,” Irani told the Daily in an email. “But the minute we lined up against Dickinson, we knew that we had to bring everything.”

Eight of the nine matches went to at least four games, with three of them going to five. All three five-game matches were won by Tufts players: Shanahan, Ladd-Luthringshauser and Tirmizi. Shanahan, in the third position, and Ladd-Luthringshauser, in the fifth position, were both down 2-1 before fighting back and winning.  

In the first spot, Davidson scored a 3-1 win, keeping her opponent to only five points in both the first and last match.  

“Claire [Davidson] had a massive upset,” Ladd-Luthringshauser said. “Dickinson’s number one player [sophomore Hedvika Suchankova] is really good, and based off of U.S. squash rankings was ranked a lot higher, so that was huge. All the way down, everyone was fighting so hard.”

In the second position, Burns lost a close four-game match to her Dickinson opponent, first-year Domenica Romo. In the fourth position, Banner took home a 3-1 win, finishing with a dominant 11-0 shutout in her last game. Tirmizi, in the sixth position, fought for five full games, winning the first two and dropping the second two before locking up the victory in the last game

Irani, in the seventh position, dropped her first game, but came back to win the next three in a row. In the eighth position, Meggitt followed similarly to Irani, dropping the first game by a close margin of 14-12 before winning the next three to add another win to the Jumbos’ tally. 

Salomon, in the ninth position, was the only Jumbo to sweep her opponent, holding her competitor to just four points in their second game.  

“Being able to beat Dickinson was awesome,” Ladd-Luthringshauser said. “We’d had a really close 5-4 match with them in January, so to meet them again and then come out with an even bigger victory was great.”

Ladd-Luthringshauser described the Jumbos’ No. 19 national ranking as a major accomplishment for the team.

“It’s huge. Being top 20 is so exciting, especially since we finished last season at 23,” she said. “The best that we were ranked during the regular season was 18th, so just being able to end our season high up again was awesome.”