Without sophomore Libby Eyre available to play at the No. 2 position, the Princeton women's squash team struggled Sunday afternoon in the Howe Cup third-place match. Two weeks after defeating Trinity 8-1, the Tigers fell 7-2 to finish fourth in the national team tournament.
One day after falling 7-2 to Yale in the national semifinal, Princeton needed to move eight of its nine players up a spot. While several pushed their Trinity opponents deep into a fifth, the Bantams were able to clinch the match by the second shift.
Trinity had a perfect first shift, sweeping the No. 3, 6 and 9 spots. The closest match came at No. 9, where Caroline Feeley lost games of 13-11 and 15-13 in a 3-2 defeat. Senior Katie Giovinazzo, in her final team match, extended Ashley Tidman to a fourth game before falling.
Junior Casey Cortes got Princeton on the board with a 3-0 win over Pamela Larromana at the No. 8 position, but it wouldn't be enough for the Tigers. Freshman Nicole Bunyan and sophomore Alex Sawin both lost in three at the No. 2 and No. 5 spots, respectively.
While the match was clinched by the third shift, the final three matches were all dramatic. Princeton freshman Alex Lunt scored one of her most impressive wins, rallying from a 1-0 deficit to defeat Andrea Echeverria 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 11-8 at the No. 7 spot.
Lexi Saunders held a 2-1 lead at the No. 4 spot, but Natalie Babjukova came back with wins in the final two games to take the match. Junior Julie Cerullo, in a match between two of the nation's top-ranked players, held three match balls in the fifth game, but Trinity's Catalina Pelaez rallied for a 12-10 win in the fifth.
Cerullo will lead several of the Princeton players to next weekend's CSA individual championships, held in Amherst, Mass. Cerullo reached the national semifinal last season.
TRINITY 7, PRINCETON 2
1) Catalina Pelaez (T) d. Julie Cerullo 7,(8),(9),7,10
2) Alicia Rodriguez Acosta (T) d. Nicole Bunyan 5,8,8
3) Ashley Tidman (T) d. Katie Giovinazzo 4,7,(8),2
4) Natalie Babjukova (T) d. Lexi Saunders (7),8,(5),6,4
5) Jennifer Pelletier (T) d. Alex Sawin 11,6,8
6) Robyn Hodgson (T) d. Hallie Dewey 11,7,8
7) Alex Lunt (P) d. Andrea Echeverria (8),8,5,(7),8
8) Casey Cortes (P) d. Pamela Larromana 6,8,3
9) Chanel Erasmus (T) d. Caroline Feeley 13,(7),9,(6),11