While the journey is not complete, the first goal has been accomplished. The Princeton women’s squash team, picked fourth in the CSA preseason poll, clinched at least a share of its sixth Ivy League championship Friday night with an 8-1 victory over Cornell at the Belkin Squash Courts.
The top-ranked Princeton Tigers moved to 10-0 on the season, 6-0 in Ivy play, and can clinch the outright title Sunday at noon in a home showdown against Columbia on Senior Day. The previously scheduled Saturday match at No. 4 Trinity has been cancelled due to the winter storm.
Cornell, which nearly upset Trinity earlier this season, kept things exciting through the opening shift. While Princeton got wins from Lexi Saunders (No. 6) and Hallie Dewey (No. 9), Cornell’s Jamie Laird overcame a 2-1 deficit to score a 3-2 win over Nicole Bunyan in a match that included a 16-14 fourth game.
The middle shift had its own drama, but the Tigers took care of business. Freshman Tara Harrington split the opening two games at the No. 8 spot before winning 11-2 and 11-3 to take the match, while sophomore Alex Lunt held on for a 12-10 win in the opener at No. 5 before rolling off a pair of 11-2 wins.
Junior Libby Eyre won in four tough games at No. 2, including an 11-6 victory in the fourth game. However, the two quicker matches in the middle shift allowed freshman Rachel Leizman to earn the match-clinching win at No. 4; she topped Abbey Foster 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 to grab Princeton’s fifth victory of the night.
Princeton finished the match with a 3-1 win from senior Julie Cerullo at the No. 1 spot, as well as a 3-0 win for junior Alex Sawin at No. 7.
This is Princeton's first Ivy League title since 2009, and its third over the last seven seasons. During that time, the Tigers have won three Howe Cup national team titles (2007, 2008, 2009), and they will seek a fourth crown next weekend when the nation's best teams head to Yale for the 2013 championship weekend.
But there is work to be done in the Ivy League first. After such a dramatic season, including a saved match ball in the 5-4 win over Harvard, the Tigers have no interest in sharing the 2013 Ivy title.
Princeton 8, Cornell 1
1) Julie Cerullo (P) d. Danielle Letourneau (4),5,8,7
2) Libby Eyre (P) d. Jessenia Pacheco 9,6,(5),6
3) Jaime Laird (C) d Nicole Bunyan 7,(4),(7),14,5
4) Rachel Leizman (P) d. Abbey Foster 9,8,5
5) Alex Lunt (P) d. Rachel Au 10,2,2
6) Lexi Saunders (P) d. Margaret Remsen 6,10,4
7) Alex Sawin (P) d. Brynn Daniels 14,2,7
8) Tara Harrington (P) d. Lindsay Seginson 8,(8),2,3
9) Hallie Dewey (P) d. Olivia Wherry 4,2,10
10) Casey Cortes (P) d. Reut Odinak (11),11,6,7