Ephs Fall to Brown 9-0 in First Round of Nationals

Julia Ward '21
Julia Ward '21

HARTFORD, CT - On day one of the final tournament of the season, Nationals, the Ephs took on the Brown Bears.

Having already faced Brown earlier in the season, the Ephs knew this would be a tough match to pull out. They knew the Brown team was very strong and deep throughout their ladder, so everyone would have to play their absolute hardest. Ready to rise to the challenge, sophomore Sarah Willwerth (#3), junior Anna Nicholson (#6), and sophomore Adrienne Conza (#9) led the charge for the Ephs in the first wave of play. Willwerth waged a furious battle against her Brown opponent. After dropping the first two games, Willwerth fought back and clawed her way back into the match. She was able to succesfully tie up the score 2-2 and the match was up for grabs. With all of Hartford watching, Willwerth pushed her opponent in a tight fifth game, but was eventually outplayed 11-5. Nicholson came out strong in her first game against her Bear opponent, losing narrowly in a tight 13-11 game. Her opponent was able to adapt to her energetic Eph opponent's game, however, and Nicholson was defeated in a hard fought three games. Conza gave her opponent a good run and played long and well thought out rallies, but she too was eventually outplayed, and lost in three games. Although the first round of matches didn't go as the Ephs had hoped, the quality of squash was still superb and it was clear that Brown had brought their A game. Next on for the Ephs were senior captain Esther Baek (#2), sophomore Abby LeBlanc (#5), and freshman Alex Pear (#8). Nationals is Baek's last time competing for the Ephs, and it was clear that Baek was going to hold nothing back in her match. Watching Baek play, it was obvious that she wanted to win more than anything else. She didn't give up on a single rally and sometimes even flung her body towards the ball doing full out body dives and splits. Her match with her Bear opponent was neck and neck and resulted in a back and forth five games. In the fifth game, it was unclear who would eventually pull out the match, but Baek, in doing one of her body dives, hurt her ankle and retired the match. It was a truly heroic performance on her end and it was sad that she wasn't able to finish her match. LeBlanc was fired up and ready to go when the match began, nearly taking the first game from her opponent 10-12. The other games were also extremely close, but unforutnately, her opponent slightly outplayed LeBlanc in a few key rallies and won in three games. Pear took on a tough opponent and was unable to take control of the match. Despite putting forth her best effort, her opponent's short game and speedy movement proved to be very effective and she was eventually defeated in three games. Although once again, the outcome of this wave of matches was not one that the Ephs had hoped for, it was hard to be angry about the quality of squash being played. Everyone was putting forth a valiant effort, and for the last round of matches, the new goal was to stop worrying about the score and to just worry about making your opponent really have to fight for every single point. Sophomore Julia Ward (#1), junior Melissa Swann (#4), and freshman Kathryn Wright (#7) were last on for the Ephs. Ward played very evenly with her Bear opponent and waged an awesome comeback in the third game that was truly legendary. After being down 10-3, Ward became unstoppable. No matter what her opponent tried to do, she couldn't win the single point that it would take to close out the match. Ward eventually tied up the game score to 10-10 and after an exciting string of rallies, pulled out the game 16-14. Ward was truly the comeback queen of the day! Unfortunately, her hot streak couldn't last forever and she was defeated in the fourth game. Swann was unable to crack her Brown opponent despite playing her hardest. Her opponent's shots were on point and Swann lost in three games. Wright started her match in the driver's seat, seizing the 'T' and making her opponent truly have to guess where the ball was going to go. Unfortunately, her opponent started to gain momentum towards the end of the game and narrowly defeated Wright 12-10. Wright tried to keep control of the match, but her opponent proved to be undefeatable on this particular day, and Wright fell in three games. It was a tough first round for the Ephs, but there were a lot of lessons to be learned from the result of the match.

Head caoch Zafi Levy had this to say after the match: "The girls tried their hardest today, but unfortunately, they were outplayed. Brown has a very deep team and they were strong throughout their ladder. Although we would have liked this match to have been closer, we can't dwell on it for too long. We have a big match against Amherst tomorrow and we need to regroup. Tomrorow is a new day and I have no doubt that the team will continue to bring this strong competitive energy."

The Ephs take on Amherst in the first round of the consolation draw tomorrow at 4:30 in Hartford, CT.

1WS Ward, Julia H. 4.56823 Jacobs, Alexa  4.69194 11-5,13-11,14-16,11-4 Brown University C
2WS Baek, Esther  4.53408 Young, Isabel  4.43535 9-11,11-3,10-12,11-9,9-4 Brown University RE
3WS Willwerth, Sarah  4.38854 Dichter, Abigail  4.69768 11-5,11-9,7-11,11-13,11-5 Brown University C
4WS Swann, Melissa  4.29261 Seckendorf, Hannah  4.50822 11-5,11-6,11-4 Brown University C
5WS LeBlanc, Abigail  4.37387 Kearns, Isabella  4.60284 12-10,11-9,11-8 Brown University C
6WS Nicholson, Anna  4.16358 Northrop, Katrina  4.34677 13-11,11-7,11-6 Brown University C
7WS Wright, Kathryn A. 4.10797 Bergam, Scarlett J. 4.49225 12-10,11-5,11-2 Brown University C
8WS Pear, Alexandra  3.98148 Kimmel, Catherine  4.3885 11-5,11-1,11-5 Brown University C
9WS Conza, Adrienne  4.15257 Safford, Hannah C. 4.19505 11-8,11-6,11-7 Brown University C
10WS Bower, Elizabeth  3.93442 Syed, Sara  4.20575 11-4,11-3,11-4 Brown University C