Polar Bears squash hapless Bates Bobcats
The women's squash team improved its season record to 14-4 by twice defeating the rival Bates Bobcats, 7-2 on January 28th, and 6-2 this past Tuesday.
The top six Bowdoin women won their individual matches against Bates this week, led by first-year Niki Clement, who the College Squash Association currently ranks as the 21st best player nationwide, all divisions included.
The College Squash Association also recognizes Bowdoin's second and third position players in the recent Bates match, Merril Muckerman '03 and co-captain Katie Irving '04. These two players rank 24th and 25th in the country, respectively.
Senior co-captains Lindy Stanley and Whitney Hodgkins, along with Eileen Schneider '04, also defeated their Bates opponents at the second through sixth positions.
"Schneider has really picked up this season in the number five and six spot," said Irving. "Every match she has shown the speed and agility of a field mouse with the delicate touch of a heart surgeon."
Melissa Miness '04, Rachel Rones '03, and Margaret Fuller '06 rounded out the scoring nine against Bates on Tuesday.
Heading into their second consecutive match against Bates, Irving emphasized the importance of a repeat victory, saying that it is "important and will go a long way in preparing us for Nationals and maintaining our standing."
In the past two months, the Bears have clambered up the national ladder, improving their ranking from thirteenth to tenth. Aside from Trinity and Williams, the Bowdoin women are the only non-Ivy League team in the top ten rankings.
"We are doing really well this season, and right now is when it really counts," said Irving. "We came into this season [ranked] last in our division, and now we are fighting for the top spot."
Irving highlights the team's victories over teams such as Bates and Amherst as instrumental in paving the way for a successful season.
The women beat eleventh-ranked Amherst 6-3 on January 12th, again led by victories from Clement, Irving, Stanley, Schneider, Miness, and Rones.
"Stanley has been playing extremely well and delivered a dominating, winning performance at number five against Brown" on January 25th, said Irving. In a tough 7-2 loss, Stanley and Muckerman both beat their Brown opponents.
"Muckerman has come through with big wins this season, beating the number two [player] at Williams and Brown," said Irving. Muckerman was the sole Bowdoin victor at Williams on January 11th.
Since returning to campus for winter training, the women have won two-thirds of their contested matches against foes including Middlebury, Smith, Amherst, George Washington, and Bates.
In addition, the Polar Bears have been victorious in match-ups against St. Lawrence, Hamilton, Mount Holyoke, Wellesley, and Wesleyan. Out of eighteen matches in the season, the Bears have lost only to Dartmouth, Penn, Brown, and Williams, who are ranked fifth through eighth nationwide respectively.
With only a handful of remaining matches, the women are looking forward to the Nationals. "Our immediate goals [were] to take care of Bates and Colby this week," said Irving. "After that, Vassar on Sunday will be another preview of a strong team that we might see at Nationals. Our match against Trinity on Saturday - the defending national champion - will be a good test to see if we can hang with the best players around."