The Jumbos conquered the courts on a perfect three for three during its last weekend of regular season play. The team is No. 17 in the nation, according to the College Squash Association (CSA).
On Friday, Tufts played on their home Harvard courts against No. 19 Bates. Six players were victorious in their matches against the NESCAC rival. Sophomore Rachel Windreich, who played in the sixth spot, won her first two games, lost her third and fourth games but rallied back in the fifth game to secure the win (14–12, 11–7, 13–11, 11–9, 11–6).
Jumbos in the bottom five spots played exceptionally well, winning all of their matches. At No. 10, senior Sahana Karthik won swiftly in three games against the Bobcats’ Tiffany Cervantes (1–4, 11–3, 11–2). The 6–3 win puts the Jumbos 5–3 in the NESCAC and 6–4 overall, while Bates dropped to 5-6 overall. It was a redemptive night for the Jumbos, who lost to the Bobcats three times last year, including the NESCAC championship fifth place match and the CSA Team Championship Walker Cup Semi-Final.
Coach Joe Raho had a positive outlook going into the game.
“The whole goal for our team has been to move up in the NESCAC, start beating Williams, Amherst and Bates,” he said. “Last year, Bates beat us three times, and every time we thought the match was really close and we could win the match, we did not. So, going into this season, we circled this match on our calendar early in terms of one that we wanted to win, one that we thought we could win because we thought we were a little bit better. We were very nervous I think, but very excited about the prospect.”
The court conquerors drove to South Hadley, Mass. the following day to face Mount Holyoke and William Smith, eager to repeat their success against non-conference opponents. Tufts decisively defeated both No. 24 William Smith and No. 25 Mount Holyoke 8-1. Playing at No. 3, first-year Megan Chen played Holyoke’s Maeve Watts-Roy and defeated her soundly (11-7, 11-7, 11-2). Sophomore Julie Yeung, at No. 2, gave up only seven points to win against her opponent Ragini Ghose (11-2, 11-3, 11-2).
Raho said he was not too worried about either team heading into the match.
“Last year, we beat them both convincingly so I was not very concerned about either match. But both teams were pretty legitimate so that is why I put them on the schedule,” he said. “I tried to make our schedule as hard as I could possibly make it this year, but we did not play every Ivy League school.”
Chloe Kantor, a sophomore, playing in the eighth spot, defeated Holyoke’s Emma Robson (11-2, 11-6, 11-2). She noted their success came from rigorous preparation for the game.
“I think we came in thinking we were the higher, tougher team, but we were consistent and we played our hardest each point,” Kantor said.
Thus closes the Jumbos’ regular season. The team has 10 days to rest and prepare for the NESCAC tournament, hosted by Trinity, that starts with a difficult test against the No. 3 hosts. Raho spoke about his hopes for post-season play.
“Because we are fit in the NESCAC, we are going to get a bye in the first round, and we get to play on Saturday morning. We just got to get … ready for it,” he said. “We just want to finish with the highest rank that the team can achieve in a while. Getting one spot up is really a lot of work and I think we are capable of getting there.”