By Daniel Wu
No. 6 Stanford (1-2) squash will kick off their winter season by hosting No. 19 Tufts (4-2) on Wednesday. The Cardinal will enjoy a rare match on home turf to begin a long stretch of critical games as the National Championships in February loom ahead.
Stanford resumes its season coming off a mixed run in the fall. The Cardinal split matches against top programs Pennsylvania, Drexel and Princeton in Philadelphia by razor-thin margins. No. 3 Princeton and No. 5 Drexel held off the Cardinal by 6-3 and 5-4 scores, respectively – a particularly agonizing finish against the Dragons saw sophomore Elena Wagenmans and freshman Samantha Moadel lose their matches in deciding fifth games. The Cardinal rebounded by taking down No. 7 Penn 5-4 in another nail-biter, with Wagenmans clinching the decisive point.
Home matches are a rare breather in Stanford’s East Coast-heavy schedule. Tufts will be the only match within the friendly confines of Arrillaga this season before the team returns east for two consecutive trips to New York in the following weeks. Though the Cardinal are favored on paper against the 19th-ranked Jumbos, Stanford’s outing in Philly shows the parity present in an increasingly-deep league this season. The pressure will be on for the Cardinal to stave off another upset. As the push to the postseason begins in earnest, maintaining a high ranking will be crucial for Stanford’s fortunes in the National Championship.
Wednesday will also be the final home game for seniors Casey Wong, Chloe Chemtob and Julia Gillette. Top-ranked recruits in high school, the trio formed a historically strong class for the Cardinal and helped propel the program to its first top-five ranking in their freshman year in 2017.
Stanford’s short homestand begins at 4 p.m. at the Arrillaga Center for Sports and Recreation.
Contact Daniel Wu at dwu21 ‘at’ stanford.edu.