This past weekend, the No. 6 Stanford women’s squash team (12-6) finished in sixth place at the National Intercollegiate Championships in New Haven, Connecticut.
The tournament was the culmination of the entire season and all the work that went into it. “Everybody was really excited, looking forward to it,” said head coach Mark Talbott.
The women’s first round match was on Friday against No. 3 Princeton. Stanford lost the match 8-1. The Cardinal’s one win came from sophomore Christie Huchro, who swept the Tigers’ Kira Keating in three games.
“They’re [still] a little bit stronger than we are,” said Talbott.
“After entering the tournament with high hopes, the first-round loss was somewhat disappointing. Everybody was a little bummed about the loss, but I think they were looking forward to playing the next day,” Talbott added.
The Cardinal then moved into the consolation portion of the bracket, where they faced off with No. 7 Columbia on Saturday. The team was able to bounce back from their earlier performance and beat Columbia 7-2. Four of Stanford’s points came from three-game sweeps, the team’s best-played match of the weekend.
The win put the Cardinal in the consolation finals, which they played on Sunday against No. 5 Yale. The Cardinal had lost 7-2 to the Bulldogs on January 29. While they managed to keep things closer this time, they still fell just short, losing 5-4 to finish the tournament in sixth place.
“It was one of those games that could have gone either way,” said Talbott.
Freshman Lucy Rowe swept her individual match in three games, and sophomore Sarah Bell took her individual match to five games before being defeated by the Bulldogs’ Shiyuan Mao.
“I wanted everybody to play to their potential and learn from the experience,” said Talbott. He sees the experience that the players got during the tournament as being valuable for a young squad that includes five freshmen.
“Maybe we could have finished one spot higher, beaten Yale and finished in fifth place, but I don’t think we’re [quite] ready to move into the top three or four,” he said.
Finishing in the top three is one of Talbott’s goals for next year, however, and he thinks that the team can accomplish it. Every player has gotten better this season and Stanford will add first- and second-rated recruits to their squad next year.
It was evident to Talbott that the team has chemistry and that the players enjoy each other’s company, something that he’s very proud of as a coach.
Contact Elliott Lapin at elapin ‘at’ stanford.edu.