The no. 19 nationally ranked Bates Women’s Squash team has had a roller coaster of a season so far with five losses and five wins. This weekend, Jan. 25-26, was a big one for the Bobcats as they played against Tufts (L 6-3), William Smith (W 7-2), Mount Holyoke (W 8-1) and Amherst (W 5-4). This will be the last set of games before the NESCAC tournament begins on Feb. 8.
On Friday Jan. 25, the Bobcats went up against no. 17 nationally ranked Tufts, earning wins at the no. 1, 2 and 5 spots, but ultimately losing 6-3. Luca Polgar ’20 from Budapest, Hungary, secured a 3-2 win at the no. 1 spot. She dropped her first game 6-11 and 8-11 in game four, but fought her way through winning her second game 11-7, third game 13-11, and fifth game 11-4.
Kristyna Alexova ’19 from Boskvice, Czech Republic, picked up a great 3-0 win at the no. 2 spot with scores of 11-8, 13-11, and 11-3. Finally, Maeve O’Brien ’21 earned a 3-2 win at the no. 5 spot winning the first and third match 11-4 and 11-7.
On Saturday Jan. 26, the Bobcats played no. 24 nationally ranked William Smith with wins from the no. 2-8 spots. Vicky Arjoon ’19 from Georgetown, Guyana won 3-0 at no. 2 with scores of 11-7, 12-10, and 11-1. At no. 3, Katie Manternach ’21 from Brooklyn, NY also secured a 3-0 win with scores of 11-9, 11-9, and 11-8. O’Brien earned another win (3-0) for the weekend at no. 4 with scores of 11-0, 11-4, and 11-2.
Natasha Jones ’22, a first year from Roslindale, Mass. also cruised through a 3-0 win at the no. 5 spot with scores of 11-1, 11-4, and 11-2. Another first year Natalie Bachman ’22 from New Canaan, Conn. took down her opponent 3-0 at the no. 6 spot with scores of 11-5, 11-3, and 11-3. Molly Brooks ’19 from Charlottesville, Va. also earned a great 3-0 win at the no. 7 spot with scores of 11-4, 11-1, and 11-3. Finally Katie Bull ’19 from Sudbury, Mass. also obtained a 3-0 triumph with scores of 14-12, 11-3, and 11-3.
On Sunday Jan. 27, the Bobcats played no. 17 nationally ranked Amherst. This was their last game before entering the NESCAC tournament. This game decided whether they would be seeded in the C flight like last season, or if they would move up to the B flight. For these Bobcats, that positivity came through as they narrowly defeated Amherst 5-4. Polgar led the way at the no. 1 spot with a 3-0 win with scores of 11-5, 11-5, and 11-7. Alexova also defeated her opponent 3-0 at the no. 2 spot with scores of 11-9, 11-9, and 11-4. O’Brien with another win this weekend beat her opponent 3-1 at the no. 5 spot (8-11, 11-3, 11-9, and 11-7).
Jones earned another hard fought win for this weekend, playing 5 games at the no. 5 position (11-3, 5-11, 11-6, 6-11, and 11-7). Finally, Brooks also played another great match, defeating her opponent 3-1 at the no. 8 position with scores of 5-11, 11-8, 11-9, and 11-6.
Three words that Tiffany Cervantes ’21 used to describe the team “driven, supportive, and adaptable. “I think the team has been doing well in being adaptable to changes that have either hurt the ladder or our ranking in general,” she said. “Nevertheless, I think we do a good job of staying positive and moving forward.” She continued to explain that the dynamic of the team feels very homey, yet very competitive, which contributes to why the Williams and Middlebury games, played on Jan 12 and 13, stood out for her.
“The weekend we played Williams and Middlebury was probably the toughest losses we’ve experienced thus far,” Cervantes said. “We went in with a positive and determined mentality but unfortunately didn’t get the results we wanted. This is to say, the moments after these matches stood out to me the most because everyone on the team was there for one another.”
This focus on teamwork helped propel O’Brien to NESCAC Women’s Squash Player of the Week. She has now won 15 straight matches dating back to last season, doing a terrific job out of the no. 5 spot. The Bates Women’s Squash team finished their regular season with an 8-6 overall. They will be back in action on Feb. 8 in the NESCAC Championship hosted by Trinity College.