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Women's squash squeaks past Yale to avoid repeat of Penn loss

After falling to Penn for the first time ever Jan. 26, the women's squash team hoped that a return home would signal the start of a resurgence — a final push that would propel Princeton to its third consecutive national championship. With the Howe Cup looming large Feb. 18-20, the Tigers got back on the winning track Saturday with a hard-fought 5-4 win over Yale at Jadwin Gym.

With star junior Julia Beaver out with an injury, the Tigers (6-1 overall, 3-1 Ivy League) needed unsung freshman No.7 Jen Shingleton to carry them to victory. Shingleton delivered, rallying to win her individual match, enabling Princeton to prevail after having squandered a 4-2 overall lead.

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"Jen's out there down a game," head coach Gail Ramsey said. "Her fitness I think was the key. It was a real confidence boost for her."

Stepping up

What may prove to be an even greater confidence booster for Princeton, however, was the Tigers' ability to come through with a hard-fought victory despite the absence of their best individual player. Beaver's injury had forced Ramsey to juggle her lineup, but Princeton prevailed nonetheless.

"It's always nice to know we have pretty good depth," Ramsey said. "Every match that is tough on [the Tigers] will make them better."

After defeating the Elis (9-4, 2-3), Princeton will attempt to build on this success next weekend, when it travels to New England for a pair of matches that should provide a good indication of where the Tigers stand heading into the Howe Cup. Princeton will face off against Dartmouth on Saturday in Hanover, N.H., before travelling south to Cambridge, Ma., to play Harvard — the team the Tigers defeated last February to win their second consecutive national championship.

Although Princeton got the last laugh against the Crimson last season, Harvard had captured the Ivy League crown for the seventh time in eight years.

The following Wednesday, the Tigers will play Trinity College in their final tune-up before the Howe Cup. Trinity could prove to be an interesting matchup for Princeton, having defeated Yale, 7-2, Jan. 19, but having lost to Penn, 8-1, Jan. 23.

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