Squash power Yale to visit Bates for the first time

Jenny Imrich '08 and the Bates College women's squash team return to action Saturday against three-time defending national champion Yale.

LEWISTON, Maine -- Squash enthusiasts and fans of Bates College athletics are in for a treat this Saturday, when the nationally ranked Bobcat men's and women's squash teams will play host to perennial powerhouse Yale University.

It is believed to be the first time a Yale team has competed at Bates, and what a team the Bulldogs are. The Yale women have won three straight Howe Cups, the College Squash Association's version of the national championship. The Yale men have finished ranked among the nation's top three teams in each of the past three seasons.

"It's a great honor to be hosting the national powerhouse Yale University squash teams at Bates," said Bates head men's and women's squash coach John Illig. "Yale has a long and storied squash tradition, and they have the finest squash facility in America.  (Yale) head coach David Talbott's willingness to bring his team to Maine is a great honor for us, and it will be a challenge for us to compete against them."

Not that Bates' teams should be any pushover, on either side, despite the fact that they both lost to at Yale by 9-0 scores last aseason.

The Bates women have won the Kurtz Cup to finish ninth in the U.S. for three straight seasons. The Bobcats are off to a 5-1 start in 2006-07 and have three of their top players -- juniors Charlotte Gerrish, Caroline Lemoine and Jenny Imrich -- now returned from spending last semester abroad.

The Bates men, meanwhile, are 2-1 thus far and ranked 13th in the latest CSA poll (Yale is fifth). Two-time All-America player Ricky Weisskopf is currently the 13th-ranked college player in the country, while Yale's top-ranked player, senior Nick Chirls, is right behind him in the 15th spot.

The action gets under way at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Bates College Squash Center, at 56 Alfred Plourde Parkway in Lewiston, Maine.