SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – It was a successful opening morning for the Mount Holyoke College squash team as they powered to a 9-0 victory over Haverford College in the opening round of day two at the Pioneer Valley Invitational. MHC later fell to Wesleyan, 8-1 in the final match of the day. The Lyons move to 6-6 on the season.
The Lyons cruised to victory in the opener as the ladder excelled from top to bottom. MHC proved dominant right off the bat as first year Amy Sanchez (Roxbury Crossing, Mass.) grabbed the first win of the day in the ninth position, defeating first year Emilia Cobbs (Middletown, Del.), 3-0 (11-2, 11-1, 11-1).
Junior Xianger Fei (Hangzhou, China) followed in the sixth position with a 3-0 (11-4, 11-6, 11-2) win against Haverford's Alyssa Kaden (Potomac, Md.), while classmate Samantha Rosado (Meriden, Conn.) won at the third spot, 3-0 (11-4, 11-2, 11-0) against sophomore Sarah Madigan (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.).
First year Allison Shilling (New Canaan, Conn.) battled out a 3-0 (11-4, 11-5, 11-7) win over first year Isabel Agnew (Falmouth, Maine) at five, while senior Katrina Intal (Bronx, N.Y.) was the victor in the second position with a 3-0 (11-2, 11-5, 11-4) win over sophomore Bethany Simmonds (Cornwall Bridge, Conn.).
Junior Elyse Taylor (Mission, Texas) gutted out an 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 win against Samara Flug (New York, N.Y.) in the fourth position, setting up the top position match between MHC senior captain Randima Ranaweera (Colombo, Sri Lanka) and Fords' senior Caroline Nightingale (Wilton, Conn.).
Ranaweera made quick work of the opening set, taking it by an 11-2 margin. She went on to claim wins of 11-3 and 11-4 for the overall victory. The final match of the day saw Lyons' first year Sanjna Merchant (Mumbai, India) take on Haverford sophomore Emily Berlin (Chandler, Ariz.). Merchant cruised to the 3-0 (11-2, 11-5, 11-3) win to seal the 9-0 victory for the Lyons.
In the afternoon session, the Lyons shouldered a tough loss to Wesleyan despite several outstanding battles in the ladder. Ranaweera picked up the lone victory, defeating Mary Foster (Wallingford, Conn.) by an 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 margin.
Several tough matches came in the second, fourth and eighth positions. In the two spot, Intal rebounded after losing the opener against Lauren Nelson (Baltimore, Md.), but could not close the gap, falling 3-1 (11-5, 5-11, 11-7, 11-5). Taylor also battled in her match at four against sophomore Liza Bayless (Denver, Colo.), taking the second game (11-7) after falling 12-10 in the opener. Bayless proved too tough, earning the 3-1 (12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8) victory.
In the eighth spot, MHC's Ryan took on senior Miranda Linsky (Kaneohe, Hawaii) and despite dropping the first two games, she battled for an 11-8 win in the third. The momentum was not enough as Linsky earned the 11-6 win in the fourth for a 3-1 (11-9, 11-1, 8-11, 11-6) match victory.
Mount Holyoke concludes action at this year's invitational on Sunday morning when they host Bates College at 9am.
Photo of Fei courtesy of RJB Sports Photography.