The girls varsity squash team won the New England Prep School Athletic Conference Class B Championship over the weekend, capturing the title in a tiebreaker against St. Mark's School.
The team traveled to the Pomfret School on Saturday, February 23, to take part in the first round of matches, followed by semifinal action on Sunday. The tournament follows an individual bracket style of play, where each player earns points for her team by winning matches and advancing to the next round.
In the first round, the Pelicans shot to an early overall lead, with six of the seven girls winning their matches convincingly. From there, four girls, No. 5 junior Sadie Olcott, No. 3 senior Fiza Malik, No. 2 senior Amara Haider, and No. 1 senior Lily Taylor, earned spots in the semifinals. In a hard-fought display, both No. 7 junior Emily Lent and No. 4 senior Ashley Edwards won their first-round matches in the round of 16, before bowing out in the quarterfinals, earning quality points for the Pelicans. Similarly, No. 8 senior Megan Liew rallied to earn crucial points by earning an eighth-place spot in her quarterfinal matchup.
In the second day of play, the Pelicans faced even harder opponents, and with the trophy within grasp, pressure and nerves ran high.
After finding herself 0-2 down against a feisty opponent, Malik recentered and refocused herself and, with a new sense of purpose and patience, slowly chipped away to win the match 3-2, earning a spot in the final. Malik lost to a very strong opponent in the final, finishing her tournament impressively in second place.
In the No. 2 slot, Haider fell 3-1 in the semifinals, but went on to win her final match to finish in third place.
One of the hardest-fought matches of the day was Olcott's five-game thriller. After finding herself down 4-8 in the fourth game, Olcott rallied to win seven straight points and take the game, forcing a fifth and final game, where she fell just short with the momentum too much in favor of her opponent. Olcott finished an impressive fourth place at the No. 5 position.
In arguably the match of the weekend, Taylor faced a rematch against her rival from Kent School. A week earlier, a match between these two worthy opponents had to end early because Taylor sustained an injury, so anticipation and nerves built for the rematch in the New England finals. After falling behind 0-2, Taylor rebounded with a big 11-8 win in the third game but fell in the fourth and final game 9-11, earning second place.
After the dust had settled, Loomis found itself in an 81-81 tie with St. Mark's. The tiebreaker came down to whichever team's No. 1 player finished higher. By virtue of Taylor's second-place finish, compared to the 10th-place finish for the St. Mark's No. 1 player, the Pelicans took home the Class B New England Title.