After finishing the regular season ranked No. 6, the Stanford women’s squash team (11-4) is heading to the CSA National Championships in New Haven, Connecticut this weekend.
The Cardinal will take on No. 3 Princeton (11-2) in the first round on Friday. Stanford lost 7-2 to Princeton in its final match of the regular season. The Princeton matchup came at the end of a six-match weekend that had left the team physically and mentally drained. However, the match was closer than the score indicated, as two of the individual matches against the Tigers went to five games.
According to sophomore Tatyanna Dadabbo, the rematch is not about revenge. “It’s more just getting another chance to play our best squash, which is something that we may not have done last time.”
“Everybody has to play their best. They’re going to have to really earn it,” said head coach Mark Talbott.
The Cardinal have been on three road trips east; each time, they have lost their opening match. Traveling across the country is difficult, but Dadabbo thinks that entering the match mentally ready will be the biggest key to breaking the pattern of opening losses.
If they beat Princeton, the Cardinal will take on the winner of No. 2 Pennsylvania and No. 7 Columbia on Saturday in the semifinals.
When asked whether he is looking ahead to that match, Talbott simply replied, “Negatory!” before elaborating that he wants to concentrate on one match at a time.
The sixth-ranked Cardinal will play in the top bracket of eight teams for the Howe Cup. Getting back into the top bracket was one of the team’s main goals this year, according to Talbott.
Last season, Stanford finished the regular season ranked ninth, so the team played for the Kurtz Cup in the B-Division. Dadabbo said that not making the A-Division was frustrating but that they “made the best of it” and ended up winning the Kurtz Cup.
This tournament marks the end of the Stanford squash careers of seniors Abby Giannuzzi, Maddy Gill, Carolyn Gillette and Sarah Haig.
“I have too many thoughts to condense it into any articulate goodbye. This team is the most meaningful part of my Stanford career,” Haig said.
Haig, a co-captain, isn’t worried about the team’s prospects at winning the championship.
“Nationals has already happened,” she said. “It happens every day when you come out and you practice your hardest.”
Stanford takes on Princeton on Friday at noon.
Contact Elliot Lapin at elapin ‘at’ stanford.edu.