Hartford, Conn. - Three different Princeton players overcame deficits in 3-2 victories as the No. 3-ranked Princeton University Tigers defeated the No. 2-ranked Trinity College Bantams in a battle of women's squash unbeatens at the Kellner Squash Center on Trinity's campus in Hartford. The Bantams fall to 6-1 on the year while the Tigers move to 7-0. Today's match is the second time in as many years that Princeton has beaten Trinity, 5-4, in a No. 3 versus No. 2 matchup. Last year saw the Bantams fall to the Tigers by the same score in a regular season match in New Jersey, however Trinity got its revenge in the form of a 6-3 victory in the semifinals of the Howe Cup.
Princeton jumped ahead to a 2-0 start, winning a pair of matches in the first wave early. Isabel Hirshberg (Philadelphia, Pa.) made quick work at the No. 9 spot with a 3-0 victory before Elle Ruggiero (Malvern, Pa.) came back from down, 2-1, to win, 3-2, and put Princeton ahead 2-0. Trinity answered in the form of a gutsy, 3-2 victory at No. 6 by rookie Nadiia Usenko (Kiev, Ukraine). Usenko took the first two games, 11-8 and 12-10, before dropping the next two to force a deciding fifth game. The first-year grinded out an 11-7 victory to put the Bantams on the board and cut the overall deficit to 2-1 after the first wave.
Princeton once again went 2-1 in the following wave to command a 4-2 lead. Morgan Steelman (Philadelphia, Pa.) found herself on the ropes in the No. 8 matchup, down 2-0, before roaring back to win the next three games and come away with a 3-2 victory. Samantha Chai (Norwell, Mass.) picked up a 3-0 sweep at No. 5 for the Tigers to make it a 4-1 match before Trinity junior Salma Alam El Din (Cairo, Egypt) responded with a 3-1 triumph at No. 2 for the Bantams to fend off the Princeton clincher for the time being. The Tigers found the clincher in the form of a 3-2, comeback win at No. 7 by Andrea Toth (Vancouver, B.C.) who went down, 2-1, but came back with 11-6 and 11-5 game wins to put the visitors up, 5-2 and clinch the match. Trinity sophomore Min Jie Teh (Klang, Malaysia) swept her opponent at the No. 1 spot in the lineup, including a gritty 13-11 match clincher, while classmate Akanksha Salunkhe (Vasco De Gama, India) put together a 3-1 win at No. 4 after dropping the first set.
The Bantams return to action on Sunday for a 1 p.m. match versus Stanford at the Murr Squash Center on the campus of Harvard University.
1. T - Min Jie Teh d. Bubble Lui, 11-6, 12-10, 13-11
2. T - Salma Alam El Din d. Raneem El Torky, 11-9, 11-7, 6-11, 11-4
3. P - Elle Ruggiero d. Vanessa Raj, 6-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6
4. T - Akanksha Salunkhe d. Grace Doyle, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 12-10
5. P - Samantha Chai d. Jenny Haley, 11-7, 11-3, 11-5
6. T - Nadiia Usenko d. Emme Leonard, 11-8, 12-10, 6-11, 2-11, 11-7
7. P - Andrea Toth d. Lakeesha Rarere, 4-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5
8. P - Morgan Steelman d. Amina Taher, 5-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5
9. P - Isabel Hirshberg d. Campbell Brown, 11-4, 11- 3, 11-4
Princeton 5, Trinity (Conn.) 4