Despite the loss of senior All-America Libby Eyre, who missed Saturday's Ivy League opener due to injury, the Princeton women's squash team pushed the top-ranked Harvard Crimson before eventually falling 6-3 in Boston.
The loss was Princeton's first in the Ivy League since 2012, and leaves the Tigers with no margin for error for the remainder of the Ivy League season. Princeton will continue its league season Sunday at Dartmouth, and it will need some help down the road from Top 5 Ivy programs like Penn or Yale.
Princeton got off to a strong start Saturday against the two-time reigning national champion, jumping out to a 2-1 lead after the first shift. In her Ivy League debut, freshman Alex Toth was extremely impressive in a 3-0 win. She closed the win with an 11-4 victory in the third game to open a 1-0 lead.
Harvard evened the score at No. 3, but Princeton junior Hallie Dewey grinded out a 3-1 win at the sixth spot to give the Tigers a 2-1 edge. Dewey won two close games before dropping a 12-10 game, but she made sure the match would not go five. She closed out the fourth 11-7 to remain unbeaten on the season.
"Hallie was able to get control the T in the fourth game," Ramsay said. "She started to shoot the ball better and was able hold off her opponent to win the match."
Harvard took control during the second shift, sweeping a trio of 3-1 matches to open a 4-2 lead. The senior duo of Alex Sawin (No. 5) and Lexi Saunders (No. 8) both opened their matches with wins, but their Crimson opponents rallied to sweep the final three. Princeton junior Nicole Bunyan, playing at the No. 2 spot for the first time this season, tried to climb out of a 2-0 hole with an 11-7 win in the third, but Haley Mendez closed the match in four.
That shift all but clinched the team win for the Crimson, which still had undefeated, two-time national champion Amanda Sobhy waiting at the No. 1 spot. She handed Princeton freshman Maria Elena Ubina her first collegiate loss in three games.
Princeton did put two quality showings in its final two matches. At the No. 4 spot, junior Alex Lunt showed impressive toughness in three tough wins over Saumya Karki. She closed the win with a 12-10 victory in the third game.
"Alex Lunt played great," Ramsay said. "She really raised her game. She was consistent and played incredibly tough against the Harvard player. I haven't seen her play that well until today."
Sophomore Tara Harrington nearly made it a 5-4 match for the third straight season. She rallied from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1, but she fell in a 15-13 thriller in the fifth game to close the match.
Princeton will try to bounce back Sunday at noon when it takes on Dartmouth at noon.
HARVARD 6, PRINCETON 3
1 - Amanda Sobhy (H) d. Maria Elena Ubina 3,3,1
2 - Haley Mendez (H) d. Nicole Bunyan 8,6,(7),3
3 - Katherine Tutrone (H) d. Rachel Leizman 6,6,9
4 - Alex Lunt (P) d. Saumya Karki 9,4,10
5 - Michelle Gemmell (H) d. Alex Sawin (9),8,10,7
6 - Hallie Dewey (P) d. Julianne Chu 9,6,(10),7
7 - Dileas MacGowan (H) d. Tara Harrington 8,(8),5,(9),13
8 - Isabelle Dowling (H) d. Lexi Saunders (7),7,6,6
9 - Alex Toth (P) d. Megan Murray 6,7,4