This weekend, the No. 17 Tufts women’s squash team (13–6) secured a landslide 9–0 victory over Boston University (2–13) at Belmont Hill’s Jordan Athletic Center. It was the Jumbos’ third sweep of the Terriers in as many years. With NESCAC Championships behind them and College Squash Association (CSA) Nationals right around the corner, the Jumbos approached this non-conference matchup with the same intensity as any other match. There was great energy at Belmont Hill, especially because with this match marking Tufts’ Senior Day, several students and parents came out to show their support.
“This was a special game,” junior captain Chista Irani told the Daily in an email. “We had two four-year seniors, [Gabi Salomon and Lauren Banner], competing on our home courts for their very last time.”
Salomon and Banner both put up strong performances against the Terriers, contributing two of their team’s nine wins. Banner topped BU junior Shelby Bannon in three sets (11–2, 11–5, 11–1), and Salomon also handily conquered her opponent, sophomore Julia Hess, in a three-set exhibition match (11–0, 11–2, 11–1).
The younger Tufts players on the roster defeated their opponents in like manner. Their confidence and poise allowed three first-year Jumbos to record assertive wins against the Terriers’ lineup, which included no first-years. In the fourth position, Tufts first-year Chloe Kantor beat BU sophomore Normandie Essig (11–2, 11–6, 11–1). Additionally, first-year Radhika Joshi easily took care of Terriers senior Molly Papermaster (11–2, 11–1, 11–0) in the seventh spot, only allowing Papermaster to take three games from her. Finally, Tufts first-year Julie Yeung had to fight a little harder to earn her four-set victory (4–11, 11–9, 14–12, 11–5) in the first position.
“I went in a little unprepared to play because originally the top [three] were going to be sat out,” Yeung told the Daily in an email. “When I was asked the day of whether I would like to play, I took up the opportunity because I wanted to play more before our big matches next weekend at Nationals.”
Falling to her Terriers opponent, 11–4, in the first set, Yeung quickly found herself in a disadvantageous position. In the second set, however, the San Jose, Calif. native made up ground and rallied for an 11–9 win. Yeung knew that the third set would likely decide the outcome of the match, as she was looking to secure the Jumbos’ sweep. After several momentum swings and 26 fiercely fought points, Yeung won her third set, 14–12, and then kept the same intensity to take care of the fourth and final set, 11–5.
“My individual performance could have been better,” Yeung said. “But that’s the case for every game.”
To underscore the gap between the two teams, all of the Jumbos who competed held CSA individual rankings above 3.0 (led by Yeung’s stellar 4.33 rating), while all of their Terrier opponents ranked between 2.0 and 3.0. On paper, the Jumbos anticipated a win amid a maintenance week before CSA Nationals, but they made sure not to underestimate the Terriers.
Junior Hannah Burns, junior Sinclair Meggitt and sophomore Katherine Deveaux of the Jumbos displayed their competitive intensity, with each defeating Terriers in straight-set victories.
The upcoming weekend competition, CSA Nationals, represents a long-anticipated end-of-season contest for the Jumbos.
“Nationals is always a big weekend, and the team has been working so hard all season for it,” Irani said. “We have seen many of the teams that we will see this weekend previously … so we just have to get on court with the same focus and intensity and bring home a win again.”
Yeung echoed Irani’s optimism and confidence heading into Nationals, but at the end of the day, she just wants to step on the court and play with no expectations.
“I don’t anticipate anything — I don’t like to think too much about anything before it happens,” she said. “I just like to go with the flow and the present moment, taking it point-by-point. Hopefully, though, we can finish at the top of the C division!”
Having won four of their last six matches, the Jumbos are rounding into top form, as their season reaches its apogee this weekend. With a dominant 9–0 victory over Boston University under its belt, Tufts heads confidently into CSA Nationals, where the team went 2–1 last year to finish nineteenth in the nation.