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Date Posted:01/18/2002,  8:00AM

Women's Squash Team Notes


Women?s Squash Goes 3-2 on Weekend, Hodgkins is Undefeated.

Williamstown, Mass ? The women?s squash team traveled to Williams College to take on Franklin & Marshall, Middlebury, Mount Holyoke, Connecticut College, and Amherst. The team notched wins over F&M, Holyoke, and Conn, while Junior Whitney Hodgkins remains undefeated for the season at the #3 and 4 spots.

Match Reports:

Franklin and Marshall

Bowdoin def. F&M 6-3

The Lady P. Bears of Bowdoin started of a weekend chock full of squash with 2 dynamic Friday match-ups. First, the women faced the Diplomats of Franklin and Marshall College. The Dips are led by 2 time All-American Anjali Ponni Rajkumar. The first round of matches found Bowdoin?s Katie Irving ?02, Whitney Hodgkins ?03, and Eileen Schneider ?04 taking 3-0 victories in the #2, 4, and 6 positions, respectively. Irving and Schneider dropped only 4 points between the two matches, and Hodgkins was able to convert a win on only her second match of the season. The first round of play also brought the tightest fights of the afternoon. Freshmen Sarah Moran and Elizabeth Davidson performed well in the 8 and 9 spots, with Moran winning her first game and producing a scintillating combination of volleys and hustle. Unfortunately, Moran fell after a long battle to F&M?s Krftson. Davidson?s final game showed why the Lady P. Bears do more sit-ups than Britney Spears, yet still manage to cultivate the mental acuity of a junior high chess team. Davidson was down 0-2 in games and 0-8 in points when her abs of steel and tenacious head game kicked in to bring her back to a final score of 9-10.

The second round of matches brought the athletic stylings of Lindy Stanley ?03, Sara Kaufman ?02, and Melissa Miness ?04 at numbers 3, 5, and 7. Someone set a fire under Lindy as she smoked her opponent out of the cave and blazed to a 3-0 win over BZ Kirkbright by not losing serve in the first game. Clearly, she brought some tango home from her semester abroad in Argentina. Kaufman was similarly successful, and Miness finished out the match with a 3-0 routing at number 7, losing only one point.

The number 1 match between Bowdoin captain Cristin O?Brien and Anjali Ponni Rajkumar held center stage. O?Brien brought that good old Bowdoin sass as the underdog and held out a good fight, particularly gaining a 7-3 lead in the third game. Rajkumar had taken a game from Bowdoin?s Dana Betts ?01 on the same court a year earlier. Today members at Westchester Squash can pay $60 an hour to play with Betts. However, I heard that she won?t give up a game for under $100. Anyway, it?s hard to get a game off Dana, so the F&M girl must be really good. After an impressive contest, an obviously fit O?Brien gave way to the shot making of Rajkumar.

At the end of the day the Dips followed the majestic Polar Bears home to the North Adams Holiday Inn with the score going 6-3 to Bowdoin.

Middlebury

Middlebury def. Bowdoin 5-4

A soft tropical breeze rippled through the palms and jostled a hammock in Puerto Vallarta, but once again the Bowdoin Squashers were hard at work in Williamstown. The evening of Friday, January 11th, Bowdoin met the Middlebury Panthers and came away with 4 hard-fought wins. Unfortunately Midd came away with 5.

Bowdoin went into the match looking for an upset as the Panthers had garnered a #12 national ranking in December 5th when Bowdoin was ranked only 20th. The Polar Bears were well warmed-up from their F&M match only an hour earlier and this hunger was evident in the tenacious style of play up and down the ladder. The first round of matches brought battles from Irving ?04, Hodgkins ?03, and Schneider ?04. Irving displayed the skill and intensity that have characterized her play at the #2 spot all season. The previously undefeated Irving fell to her opponent after 4 games of long rallies.

Hodgkins came back in 3 easy games after losing the first. Her gritty style of Motor City play buried her panther opponent at #4. Schneider held on to win the first game, but could not take the second, falling 7-9. She came back in the third and fourth games with a duo of power and speed not previously associated with residents of Western New York.

The second set of Polar Bears to take the courts brought home more blood, sweat, and tears. At #5, Sara Kaufman ?02 played a strong level but was only able to scrape one game from her opponent. Lindy Stanley ?03 made short work of her opponent, Ellie Toan, at the #3 spot. Toan?s brother Eric, a freshman, plays in the middle of the ladder for the Bowdoin men?s squash team. Stanley didn?t let family get in the way as she steamed to a quick first game and never looked back. The finale of Friday?s play came from Cristin O?Brien ?02 and Sarah Herrup. O?Brien dropped one game to the Midd Captain (and once-nationally ranked junior player) but out ran her to a break away 9-4 final game. The conclusion was 5-4 for Middlebury, but the match stood out as Bowdoin?s best played and closest match of the season.

Day 2

Mt. Holyoke

Bowdoin def. Mt. Holyoke College 6-3

After the success and struggle of Friday?s matches, the Bowdoin women were up early and hungry for bagels. The carbs available in North Adams were not enough as the girls went to the courts each hoping for a 9-0, 9-0, 9-0 win. Unfortunately, no one was able to truly bagel their opponent, but Lindy Stanley ?03 and Whitney Hodgkins ?03 came close, dropping only 2 points each in the 3rd and 4th spots.

Bowdoin went in to the MHC match with an 8-1 handicap after number 2 player Katie Irving ?04 departed. This moved each Bowdoin player up a slot in the ladder and automatically defaulted the 9th position. The pressure was on, as Bowdoin and MHC had met earlier in the season and come to a 6-3 Polar Bear win with a full Bowdoin line-up. Keeping that victory would be a scuffle with the Lyons (after College founder Mary Lyon, an educational innovator).

The first 4 matches off the courts showed Bowdoin zooming to a 4-1 lead. The #2, 4, 6, and 8 matches were secure with Stanley, Sara Kaufman ?02 and Melissa Miness ?04 chalking up 3-0 wins. The 8th spot saw rookie Elizabeth Davidson ?05 claim her first win of the weekend with a take-no- prisoners serve and rail game. Of the 4 remaining matches, Bowdoin needed only 1 to assure the victory.

In the second round Sarah Moran went out to the #7 match ready for a skirmish, but came back empty handed after a shot making contest. #1 Cristin O?Brien met foe Liz Hughes for the second time this season. Hughes took a 3-0 decision in December on a narrow court in Middletown, Conn, but O?Brien came to this match up with venom in her veins and horseradish on her breath. Bowdoin came out to a lead after the first game, which O?Brien won by running Hughes to corners on nearly every point. The second and third games found Hughes summoning feminist rocker Melissa Ferrick who sings that ?everything I need is right here in my hands?. Hughes took the next two games and O?Brien was down 1-2, but not out. The fourth game saw O?Brien exploit Holyoke?s narrow court training as she physically outlasted a tired Hughes.

While the premier match waged on, Hodgkins and Eileen Schneider ?04 were on court trying to win that 5th match that would clinch the W for Bowdoin. Luckily Hodgkins was, of course, hungry for the good western Mass bagels that are so hard to find in Maine, and dropped only 2 points on the way to a triumph at #3. Schneider was facing the same opponent as her last meeting with MHC, and this Lyon refused to roll over and play dead. The #5 match ended only after Schneider taught Lisa Fritz a long lesson in the fitness and power it takes to survive a winter in Brunswick.

With the team?s win now secured at 6-2, attention turned to O?Brien and Hughes, still engaged in fisticuffs for the number one match. The fourth game was going well for Bowdoin, with a refreshed and chipper O?Brien continuing her high level of play. In fact, O?Brien found some money in the bank and withdrew a bit, storming to an 8-6 lead. At that point a few freak accidents involving racquets, walls, corners, and the squash ball brought Hughes to an 8-8 tie. O?Brien chose to continue the game to set 2, where a player would need to reach 10 points for the win instead of the 9 we are all so used to. She then gracefully wiped the sweat from her brow and onto the left sidewall, confident that some luck and a few quick points would put her in position to take a fifth game and the win from a weary Hughes. And of course, that is exactly what would have happened, except Hughes continued her run, winning the next two points and the match.

Conn. College

Bowdoin def. Connecticut College 5-4

Bowdoin swept the top 5 spots in a battle with Connecticut College. The Camels, while glad to escape from New London, were only out on a day pass, as under ranked Bowdoin defeated them even while playing one woman down. The December 5th Women?s Intercollegiate Squash Association poll had Bowdoin at 20th nationally and Conn at the 17th spot.

The first players up were Lindy Stanley ?03, Sara Kaufman ?02, Melissa Miness ?04 and Elizabeth Davidson ?05 at numbers 2,4,6, and 8. The match looked rough as Kaufman, Miness, and Davidson started off unable to take the first game. As usual, Lindy was on top of things at #2 and came away with a quick 3-0 win. Kaufman went back on court after the first with a new intensity, and won her match in 4 games. Concentration and power drove Kaufman to the four game win. Coach Tomas Fortson called the number 4 match Kaufman?s ?best match ever? and ?a clutch victory?.

The next matches on court for Bowdoin included Whitney Hodgkins ?03 and Eileen Schneider ?04. With Conn College taking the 6th,7th, and 8th matches and a default in the 9th, Bowdoin needed to win all the remaining battles to claim a slim 5- 4 victory. Hodgkins met Shauna Ginsberg in the #3 position in a battle of hands. Both players had quick racquet skills and consistent shot making abilities. The Bears needed a clean win to seize the match and move up in the rankings. Next door to Hodgkins, Schneider?s #5 match was a slugging battle with retrievals and power propelling Bowdoin to the 3-0 win over Conn captain Julia Morgan. Soon after Schneider?s conclusion Hodgkins pulled some nic shots out of her bag of tricks and came away with another 3-0 win. At this point the match was tied at 4-4 with Bowdoin victors Stanley, Hodgkins, Kaufman, and Schneider confident that their accounts were in the black, even after a weekend of heavy withdrawals from their money in the bank.

The deciding match was left up to P. Bears captain Cristin O?Brien who took an easy 9-0 first game from Conn?s #1 player. The second game was not as quick with O?Brien coming out 9-5. Tension was high and Cristin closed out a clean third game while ?feeling the flow? and driving for perfect depth. Committed Zen Buddhist Melissa Miness called the match ?inspirational? and ?knee-slapping fun, easily the finest family entertainment since the Dana Betts ? Julia Beaver ?rumble in the jungle? at the 1992 Baird Haney Tournament Girls Under 12 final.?

At the close of a successful day, Bowdoin?s Lady P. Bears had achieved some personal performance goals and named some new team fashion goals. Ready for yet another day of squash to come, the Camels and Polar Bears met for the last time at the Holiday Inn karaoke floor, Bowdoin coming away with a 2-0 win, chalking up hits ?Oops I did it Again? and ?That Don?t Impress Me Much?. Individual match results follow:

Day 3

Amherst

Amherst 8, Bowdoin 1

The Bowdoin team arrived at their fifth match of the tournament with 3 players undefeated on the weekend; Melinda Stanley ?03, Whitney Hodgkins ?03, and Eileen Schneider ?04. Each came to the final match against Amherst carrying a vendetta in her bag and a chip on her shoulder. Stanley?s #2 match against Roopali Agarwal ended in three games that were well played by a very agile Agarwal. Hodgkins was ahead of Amherst?s Ali Gibbs at the number 3 spot, but Bowdoin had already lost the number 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9 spots, giving Amherst at least a 5-4 win. Amherst?s number 6 Mary Frances Ford had held on to 2 close final games over Bowdoin?s Melissa Miness. Sara Kaufman ?02 and Schneider lost their #4 and 5 matches in 3 game each. Hodgkins surpassed Gibbs in three games, leaving only the number one match on court. Bowdoin?s Cristin O?Brien challenged Amherst Junior Susanna Burke in the first position. The talented Burke did beat O?Brien and gave Amherst an 8-1 decision.

Women?s Squash Foiled by Colby 7-2

On Tuesday, January 8th the men?s and women?s squash teams met some mules at the Lubin Family Squash Center, unfortunately, only the men came away with a win. The women lost 7-2 with wins coming from Sophomore Katie Irving at #2 and Junior Whitney Hodgkins at #4. The Polar Bears are looking for their next chance at the Mules because 3 of the matches lost by Bowdoin were close battles. Captain Cristin O?Brien ?02 pushed Colby?s Frasier Ross to 4 games at number 1, and Lindy Stanley ?03 and Eileen Schneider ?04 waged on epic 5-gamers at numbers 3 and 6 respectively. Winter break and double sessions have left the Polar Bears with improved fitness and racquet skills, as well as increased match experience. The women look forward to another crack at the Mules on February 12th up in their scenic perch high atop Mayflower Hill.

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