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Coming Back From Defeat

In the early evening of February 22, Yale women’s squash squared off against Harvard with the Ivy title at stake. The heavily favored Elis had the home court and a large home crowd, they had a number-one ranking and an undefeated streak more than two years old, and with the contest knotted at four-all, they had ace Michelle Quibell '06 in the deciding ninth match. But Quibell had been battling the flu and a nagging leg injury. With her team looking on, the senior traded shots with Crimson freshman Lily Lorentzen until their match stood at two games apiece. In the fifth and final game, in her final appearance on Court One of the Brady Squash Center, Quibell fell 9–7. The jubilant Crimson stormed the court, forcing a stunned Quibell to edge past the celebration that everyone thought would belong to Yale.


“A couple of them forgot to take care of their own match.”

Captain Amy Gross '06 described the scene in the training room after the team’s first loss in two years: “A few of the girls were crying. Half of us were in shock. I was sitting there so surprised.” After a few moments, head coach Dave Talbott entered the room. He knew his team needed to get over the loss in short order: in less than 48 hours, the Elis would board a bus outside Payne Whitney bound for Cambridge, where the Howe Cup would begin on Friday and where they were almost certain to meet Harvard in the semifinals on Saturday. (The Howe Cup is the third and final title in collegiate squash after the Ivy title and the National Championship.)

Eli phenom Miranda Ranieri '08 recounted Talbott’s pep talk: “Dave came in and basically said, ‘How often do you lose to a team and then get a chance to play them again in one week and try to redeem yourselves?’”

Yale crushed Brown and the next day met Harvard—for a brilliant turnaround. During the Ivy title matches two days earlier, says Talbott, the Bulldogs might not have played as hard as they could have: “I think the girls, as the matches started developing, were all assuming that everything was going to be fine and everybody else is going to win—but a couple of them forgot to take care of their own match.” But in the Howe, overconfidence was no longer a problem. The Elis quickly won the first five matches over Harvard and took the round easily, 6–3.

On Sunday Yale faced its rival, Trinity, in the finals. The Trinity Bantams had dominated all of collegiate squash up until two years ago, when they were dethroned by Yale, and Trinity is still a powerhouse. The Bantams took an early 4-3 lead. The match, the Howe Cup, and redemption came down to Quibell and Gross. In their final appearance as Elis, as a finale to their hugely successful four years of squash at Yale, the senior veterans delivered with a pair of 3-1 victories.

“Amy and I had a little talk before we both went on,” says Quibell. “We were like, ‘This is it. This is us. We can do this for the team, we can do this for each other.’ And we did. It was a perfect ending.”  the end




Sports Shorts

On March 5, the men’s ice-hockey team beat Union in the longest game in collegiate-hockey history, a 3-2, five-overtime marathon that stretched over nearly 142 minutes and earned the Bulldogs a spot in the quarterfinals of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) playoffs. It was head coach Tim Taylor’s 337th victory in 28 seasons at Yale. It was also his last. Less than three weeks after the Bulldogs were swept by Dartmouth in the quarterfinals, the Taylor era was over. “Now is the time to provide new leadership, “ athletics director Tom Beckett said in a statement. Taylor has been offered a different position in the department. The high point of Taylor’s career—which spanned more games than any other head coach in ECAC history—came eight years ago, when Yale clinched the conference’s regular-season title by beating RPI, 3-1, with an injury-ravaged lineup. But Taylor couldn’t sustain the success. Yale had only two winning seasons since 1998. Still, associate coach C. J. Marottolo spoke for many in praising his mentor. “There are only a few guys on the planet who can live up to his standards in life, and how he carries himself—with class, integrity, and dignity.”

April 23 was a good day for two Bulldog teams. In Boston, women’s sailing captured the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association Championship’s Reed Trophy. That Sunday, in Vernon, New Jersey, women’s golf won the Ivy League crown.

At press time, the results from the spring sports campaign were largely positive. Men’s and women’s tennis, crew, and track, as well as baseball and softball, have had winning records.


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