The Princeton women's squash may not enter the 2012 Howe Cup national team championships with a signature victory, but it will know that it stood toe-to-toe with each of the best teams and had a chance at winning. The Tigers dropped three five-gamers and three close four-game matches in a 7-2 loss to reigning national champion Yale.
Yale led 2-1 after the first shift, though Princeton got the first win when Sawin topped Gwendoline Tilghman in three games. Princeton freshman Alex Lunt dropped three tight games at No. 9 against Issey Norman-Ross, while classmate Nicole Bunyan pushed Rhetta Nadas to four games before losing 11-9 in the fourth. Bunyan also had a 13-11 loss in the second game; between Lunt and Bunyan, the two lost four games by a combined total of eight points.
Princeton picked up a win in the second shift, as Eyre topped Kimberley Hay in three games. After back-to-back 11-8 wins, Eyre powered through the third for an 11-3 win.
The Tigers had two chances to even the match, but Yale came up with the late answers again. Casey Cortes nearly forced a fifth game at No. 8, but Shihui Mao fought through for a 14-12 win in the fourth. Sophomore Lexi Saunders battled out of a 2-0 hole at No. 5, but Katie Ballaine came away with an 11-8 win to give Yale a 4-2 lead with three matches remaining.
Again, Princeton had opportunities in each of the three, but it couldn't pull any out. Senior Katie Giovinazzo scored a 12-10 win to open her match at No. 4, but Alexandra Van Arkel scored wins of 12-10, 11-8 and 11-9 to take the point. Princeton freshman Hallie Dewey earned wins in the first and fourth games at No. 7, but Lillian Fast scored an 11-8 win in the fifth.
The feature match was a dramatic contest between two of the top three players in the country, and it more than lived up to the hype. Princeton junior Julie Cerrulo, ranked third nationally, took on second-ranked and reigning national champion Millie Tomlinson on the main court. Cerullo raced out to an 11-4 win in the opener, but Tomlinson earned 11-7 and 11-9 wins in the next two.
Cerullo fought back for an 11-6 win in the fourth, but Tomlinson was too strong in the fifth and finished the match 11-4.
Princeton will return to the court Sunday afternoon to take on Brown.
Yale 7, Princeton 2
1 - Millie Tomlinson (Y) d. Julie Cerullo (4),7,9,(6),4
2 - Libby Eyre (P) d. Kimberley Hay 8,8,3
3 - Rhetta Nadas (Y) d. Nicole Bunyan 7,11,(6),9
4 - Alexandra Van Arkel (Y) d. Katie Giovinazzo (10),10,8,9
5 - Katie Ballaine (Y) d. Lexi Saunders 7,10,(8),(6),8
6 - Alex Sawin (P) d. Gwendoline Tilghman 2,5,8
7 - Lillian Fast (Y) d. Hallie Dewey (5),9,7,(6),8
8 - Shihui Mao (Y) d. Casey Cortes 9,(7),7,12
9 - Issey Norman-Ross (Y) d. Alex Lunt 8,9,9