SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Action at the opening day of the Pioneer Valley Invitational is in the books and the Mount Holyoke College squash team shouldered a pair of tough losses in the opener. The #21 Lyons fell 8-1 to #16 Hamilton and 9-0 to #12 George Washington. MHC is now 5-5 on the season. The Continentals moved to 5-3 following the first match, while the Colonials improve to 2-4.
In the first match of the day, the Lyons shouldered a tough 8-1 defeat at the hands of the Continentals. Hamilton posted wins in the second through ninth spots on the ladder. Junior Samantha Rosado (Meriden, Conn.) put up a hard fight in the third spot against first year Lillie Simourian (Dover, Mass.). Down 1-0 after an 11-5 loss in the opening set, Rosado rebounded to take the second game by an 11-8 margin.
Simourian rallied back to claim an 11-3 victory in the third and despite another tough battle in the fourth game, Rosado could not pull out the win, falling 13-11. The match was a 3-1 (11-5, 8-11, 11-3, 13-11) margin in Hamilton's favor.
Mount Holyoke's lone point came from the top spot as senior captain Randima Ranaweera (Colombo, Sri Lanka) breezed past Continentals' junior Hilary Gray (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.) by a 3-0 (11-5, 11-0, 11-4) score.
The end of day one featured the Lyons against the Colonials in a match that saw George Washington play in South Hadley for the first time. GWU wasted little time in establishing a strong pace as the ninth, sixth and third spots in the ladder all claimed victory.
MHC senior Katrina Intal (Bronx, N.Y.) then faced off against sophomore Alejandra Porras (Bogota, Columbia) in the second position. Despite falling by an 11-4 margin in the opening game, Intal continued to battle, ultimately coming up short as Porras claimed the second game, 11-9 and recorded an 11-2 win to seal the 3-0 win.
George Washington first year Breanne Flynn (Dublin, Ireland) dominated in the top position, recording a 3-0 (11-4, 11-6, 11-2) victory over Ranaweera. In the final game of the match, MHC's Sanjna Merchant (Mumbai, India) was bested by the Colonials' Mehak Chawla, who posted an 11-1, 11-3, 11-4 victory to seal the 9-0 margin.
Mount Holyoke returns to action at this year's invitational on Saturday morning when it faces Haverford at 9am on the MHC Squash Courts. That match will be split as the Haverford men's team will face Western Ontario. George Washington continues play on Saturday as well, squaring off against Bates College at 1pm in Amherst.