Women's Squash Set for Return to Kurtz Cup
AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College women’s squash team will face plenty of tough matchups at this weekend’s Collegiate Squash Association (CSA) Team Championships, but they will be matchups that the Jeffs worked hard to earn.
After finishing 19th overall and third in the Walker Cup (C Division) at the 2012 Championships, a strong 2012-13 season has brought Amherst back to the Kurtz Cup (B Division) as the nation’s No. 16 team entering the tournament, set to be hosted by Yale Friday-Sunday in New Haven, Conn.
With a 13-7 overall record, the Jeffs return to the B Division after competing there in the 2010 and 2011 CSA Championships, finishing 14th overall in 2011, head coach Peter Robson’s first at the helm of the women’s squad. This year, Amherst will be the lowest-ranked program in the eight-team group, opening play against No. 9 Dartmouth on Friday, Feb. 15, at 1:30 p.m.
Plenty of familiar faces will join the Big Green and Jeffs in the quest for the Kurtz Cup. Rounding out the division are No. 10 Williams, No. 11 Middlebury, No. 12 Columbia, No. 13 George Washington, No. 14 Franklin & Marshall and No. 15 Bates. Amherst has a 0-5 mark against the group this season, including a pair of losses to Bates (6-3 and 8-1) and setbacks to Williams (9-0), Middlebury (7-2) and George Washington (7-2).
A strong first-year class has proven key to Amherst’s improvement this season as Robson enters the national tournament set to play five rookies in his top nine. It will be a pair of veterans at the top of the ticket, however, as seniors Chandler Lusardi and Anne Piper will hold down the No. 1 and No. 2 positions, respectively, followed by Arielle Lehman ’15 in the third slot.
Lusardi has proven both durable and reliable atop the Jeff lineup this winter, playing at No. 1 in all 20 of Amherst’s matches and posting a 12-8 individual record, a mark which includes a 3-1 win over Middlebury No. 1 Abby Jenkins.
Returning to the No. 2 slot after an injury-plagued junior season, Piper has competed in each of Amherst’s last eight contests and posted a 7-9 mark over the course of the winter. Meanwhile, Lehman has settled into the No. 3 post and matched Lusardi’s productivity, playing all 20 matches and posting a 12-8 record. Her season, which has included seven appearances at No. 2, featured an impressive 8-1 stretch between Dec. 5 and Jan. 19 as well as wins in two of her last three outings.
Amherst’s top newcomers will fill the next two spots this weekend as Meyha Sud ’16 takes a 10-6 record into the No. 4 slot, a run which includes wins in each of her last three matches. Below her, fellow first-year Ericka Robertson is set to continue a strong campaign as the Jeffs’ No. 5. Also seeing time in the third and fourth positions, the Jamaica native has posted an impressive 14-6 mark over the course of the winter as she won nine of her first 11 matches, including a win over Bates’ Rakey Drammeh on Jan. 15.
Evelyn Kramer ’14 will be the Jeffs’ lone returner in the bottom half of the order, playing at No. 6 with a 7-9 ledger on the year but wins in her last two outings. In the next slot down, Corri Johnson ’16 will look to continue a solid debut season which has seen her win her first five collegiate matches before posting an 11-8 overall mark. Johnson was one of two Jeffs to pick up a win against George Washington on Dec. 1 as she topped the Colonials’ Sarah Allen, 3-1.
Khushy Aggarwal ’16 will compete at No. 8 for the Jeffs after a season in which she has also occupied the fourth, sixth and seventh positions. Having won seven of nine between Dec. 5 and Jan. 19, Aggarwal takes a 9-10 overall mark into the weekend.
Finally, Taryn Clary ’16 has been a force for Amherst in the bottom spot of the lineup, playing all 20 matches and posting an impressive 17-3 record. The rookie won her first 11 collegiate contests, including wins over GWU’s Adriana Calderon, Middlebury’s Annie Ulrich and Bates’ Sugeiry Betances. With her only losses coming in matches against second-ranked Harvard, No. 8 Brown and No. 10 Williams, Clary picked up the Jeffs’ lone win in their NESCAC quarterfinal setback to Bates on Feb. 2, topping Samantha Matos in a 3-2 thriller.
Seniors Mary Katherine McNeill and Sarah Nyirjesy will round out the Amherst roster for the weekend, providing leadership and depth while serving as alternates in the No. 10 and 11 positions, respectively.
After Friday’s matchup with Dartmouth, Amherst will face either Columbia or GWU on Saturday before concluding play on Sunday.
Sunday, Feb. 26