Jeffs Looking to Continue Climb Among Top 15

Season Outlook
Amherst begins the 2011-12 season ranked 15th in the Dunlop Women’s College Squash Preseason Team Rankings, marking a slight drop after the Lord Jeffs finished last season as the 14th-ranked team in the nation. Once again qualifying for the Kurtz Cup (B Division) at the CSA National Team Championships, Amherst placed sixth in the tournament by posting a 1-2 record in the final weekend of the 2010-11 season.

Senior captain Kate Savage won all three of her matches at the 2011 CSA Team Championships.

Amherst has improved its record from one season to the next, going 12-14 in 2008, 16-10 in 2009, 13-8 in 2010 and 16-8 a year ago. After winning the Walker Cup (C Division) title in 2009, the Jeffs earned their way into the Kurtz Cup in each of the past two years alongside teams ranked 9-16. The Jeffs have steadily climbed the national rankings these past four years, and head coach Peter Robson believes his team can continue that progression and finish near the top of the B Division in 2012.

This Year’s Team
Amherst takes a big hit with the loss of Hayley Milbourn ’11, Mimi Bell ’11, Allie Dalglish ’11, Caitlin Demkin ’11 and Veronica Roca ’11 to graduation. The Class of 2011 posted a 57-40 record in its four years and played a vital role in helping the Lord Jeffs climb the national rankings. Milbourn earned All-NESCAC honors as the team’s top player a year ago, while Dalglish and Bell closed out their stellar careers by playing at No. 3 and No. 8, respectively, in Amherst’s lineup.

Serving as captains for the 2011-12 season will be seniors Kate Savage, Anna Scheidt and Megan Clower, while Caroline Dreyspool, Rachel Lupien and Sarah McCarrick round out an experienced Class of 2012. Savage and Scheidt formed a strong 5-6 combination in last year’s lineup, with Savage posting a 3-0 record at the CSA Team Championships after accounting for the team’s lone point in the final match of the season.

The junior class consists of Chandler Lusardi, Mary Katherine McNeill, Sarah Nyirjesy, Anne Piper and Ginny Wheeler. Lusardi was No. 2 in Amherst’s lineup last year, notably earning a 3-0 record at the NESCAC Championships despite facing some of the conference’s top players. Piper was also unbeaten throughout the conference tournament while playing at No. 4, as she strung together a dominant 12-match win streak that featured impressive victories over players from Brown, Williams and Bates.

Chandler Lusardi '13 posted a 3-0 record as the team's No. 2 player at last year's NESCAC Championship.

The sophomore class is small but talented, as Evelyn Kramer and Lena Rice both worked their way into the lineup as first-years. Spending most of her time in the No. 6 spot, Kramer earned All-NESCAC honors and finished the season with a 16-8 record. After winning the first three matches of her collegiate career, Kramer went through a dominant 12-2 stretch that spanned nearly a month, notably earning a 3-2, come-from-behind victory over a Williams opponent at the Little Three Championships.

Joining a squad that Coach Robson believes has great team chemistry are first-years Arielle Lehman and Martha Reiser, each of whom has the potential to play in the top-6 of Amherst’s lineup.

The Schedule
Highlighting the 2011-12 schedule are the CSA Individual Championships, which Amherst will host Friday-Sunday, Mar. 2-4. The Lord Jeffs are eager to share their new scoreboards and maple-floor courts with the rest of the collegiate squash world, as more than 100 of the country’s best men’s and women’s players will be on campus for the national tournaments.

The Jeffs will be tested right off the bat when they open the season against No. 22 Vassar on Nov. 30, and they will follow that up by traveling to Harvard to take on the No. 1 team in the country. Amherst will then kick off the New Year by hosting No. 2 Yale, followed by a pivotal stretch of matches against teams the Jeffs are used to seeing during the championship season.

If Amherst wants to earn its way into the top of the B Division, matches against the likes of No. 11 Bates (Jan. 14), No. 10 Brown (Jan. 18), No. 12 Middlebury (Jan. 25) and No. 9 Williams (Jan. 28) will be key indicators. After competing against Wesleyan and the Ephs for the Little Three title, the Jeffs will travel to Trinity for the conference tournament and to Harvard for the CSA National Team Championships, with a single match against No. 13 Mount Holyoke sandwiched in between on Feb. 8.