|Chloe Kantor had a clutch five-game win for the Jumbos|
HARTFORD – The Tufts University women's squash team secured fifth place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with a 5-4 victory over Bates College in conference championship competition Sunday morning at Trinity College.
Tufts improved to 10-6 overall with its second win over Bates this season. The Jumbos entered the NESCAC Tournament as the fifth seed and lost to four-seed Amherst 6-3 on Saturday in the quarterfinals. Tufts defeated eight-seed Wesleyan 9-0 later on Saturday to set up the match against Bates.
The sixth-seeded Bobcats fell to 10-8 overall with today's loss. They had to play on Friday and defeated #11 seed Bowdoin 9-0. Bates faced three-seed Middlebury in the quarterfinals on Saturday and was narrowly defeated 5-4. The Bobcats put themselves into the fifth-place match with a 9-0 win over seven-seed Hamilton later on Saturday.
Tufts earned three of their five victories against Bates in the seventh through ninth matches. Most impressively, sophomore Chloe Kantor came back from down 2-1 in the #8 match to defeat Bates' Molly Brooks 10-12, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5. Freshman #7 Diya Sanghi and senior co-captain #9 Chista Irani both won their matches in three games for Tufts.
Six of the nine contests went to four games. At #2, Jumbo sophomore Julie Yeung rallied from a first-game loss to win 8-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-2 against Kristyna Alexova. Senior Zarena Jafy had a #4 win for Tufts with scores of 15-13, 12-10, 6-11, 11-8.
Tufts junior co-captain Claire Davidson won her first game in the top match, but Bates' Luca Polgar would rebound for a 10-12, 11-9, 11-3, 12-10 win. Similarly, Jumbo junior Catherine Shanahan was up a game before Bates' Maeve O'Brien came back to win the fifth match 11-13, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8.
In the sixth match, Bates' Natasha Jones and Tufts' Rachel Windreich were tied 1-1 before the Bobcat took the last two games to win the match 11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7.
Tufts, who entered the weekend ranked 16th nationally, hope to hold that spot and get into the Kurtz Cup at the upcoming College Squash Association Championships at Trinity February 22-24. The 19th-ranked Bobcats will also be in action next that weekend.