MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Despite a dominant effort from the top and bottom of the ladder, the Mount Holyoke College squash team shouldered a tough 6-3 loss to Franklin & Marshall College in the opening round of the Walker Cup (C Division) at the College Squash Association (CSA) Women's Team National Championships. The 20th-ranked Diplomats move to 7-11 overall, while the 21st-ranked Lyons slip to 15-8 on the season.
Franklin & Marshall will now advance to the Semifinal Round of the Walker Cup and face 17th-ranked Tufts on Saturday at 6:30pm at the Kneller Squash Courts at Trinity College. MHC falls into the Consolation Round Semifinals and will square-off against 24th-ranked St. Lawrence University at 10:30am back at the Rosenbaum Squash Center at Wesleyan.
The Lyons struck first in the match as sophomore Emma Robson powered her way to a 12-10, 11-8, 11-6 victory against Julia Bevan from nine. Franklin & Marshall tied things at one all as Grace Smith bested Jennifer Mbah, 11-8, 11-9, 11-3 from six, while Katherine Galambos battled past Lyons' senior captain Ragini Ghose, 10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7 at three.
From five, Melissa Epstein notched an 11-7, 5-11, 11-4, 11-8 win over senior captain Lessly Portillo to grab a 3-1 advantage, while a tough battle at eight ended in a win for F&M's Katie Anderson. She powered past Lyons' senior captain Tanishka Sachidanand in five: 11-7, 12-14, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8.
Mount Holyoke battled back from two as senior Nadindhi Udangawa rallied in five for an 11-4, 8-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7 win against Emily Knapp. From four, Emily Bartos earned an 11-7, 11-4, 11-5 win over MHC rookie Maeve Watts-Roy, while classmate Mihiliya Kalahe Arachchige cruised to an 11-9, 11-1, 11-1 win from the top of the ladder against Ellen Verry.
The Diplomats sealed up the victory from seven as Pratiksha Mishra posted an 11-6, 11-6, 11-9 victory against Lyons' sophomore Kuzivakwashe Madungwe.