Harvard’s Sobhy Wins 2015 Women’s Individual Championship


Princeton, NJ — Amanda Sobhy of Harvard defeated Kanzy El Defrawy of Trinity 3-1 to win the Ramsay Cup and the 2015 Women’s Individual Championship. This was the Crimson senior’s fourth individual national title.

This was also the third consecutive year Sobhy and El Defrawy had met in the Ramsay Cup final, and a rematch seemed inevitable as the two players marched through the draw. In the opening round of the tournament,  Sobhy defeated Jennifer Davis of Yale in three games. She followed that with three more three-game wins en route to the final, defeating Shihui Mao (Yale) in the Round of 16, Anaka Alankamony (Penn) in the quarterfinals, and Olivia Fiechter (Princeton) in the semifinals.

El Defrawy, a two-time First-Team All-American who was recently named the NESCAC Player of the Year for a third time, also dominated her half of the draw. She won her first round match against Jillian Baker (St. Lawrence) by default. She then defeated Alex Lunt (Princeton), Marie Stephan (Penn), and Nicole Bunyan (Princeton) in the next three rounds, winning each match 3-0.

Sobhy and El Defrawy had faced each other eight other times in intercollegiate play, and Sobhy had won every previous meeting between the two. They met most recently in the finals of the 2015 Women’s National Team Championships, where Sobhy defeated El Defrawy 3-0 as Harvard won the team title. El Defrawy did have the distinction of being the only player to win a game off of Sobhy during an intercollegiate match; she won the first game of their first match two seasons ago. But the Bantam number 1 had never beaten Sobhy on the college stage. This would be her last chance.

El Defrawy held nothing back. She jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first game, but Sobhy came back to tie it 4-all. Diving across court, El Defrawy ran up an 8-5 lead, but Sobhy again closed the gap. She sent El Defrawy scrambling around the court through a long point, and the Trinity junior got to everything until she tinned a drop. The two were tied at 8-all, then 9-all. When Sobhy tinned a shot giving El Defrawy game ball, the Bantam junior pumped her fist and yelled, “Yes!” She won the next point, and with that Sobhy lost a game for the second time in her college career.

The score was close early in the second game, as the two players were tied through 5-all. But then El Defrawy let up slightly on the level of intensity, and Sobhy pulled away, winning the second 11-6.

At the start of the third game, a two-wall boast from Sobhy skimmed the tin, putting El Defrawy on the board first. But the game was Sobhy’s. She took the score up to 8-2. El Defrawy dove for a point and was slow to get up. Through a series of longer points and lets, El Defrawy picked up a few more points, but Sobhy ultimately took the game 11-5.

Sobhy led early in the fourth game, and El Defrawy kept it close as long as she could. She was within two points up to 3-5, but then Sobhy powered ahead. She gave up only one more point, a stroke, from then on. The last point was along one, and Sobhy sent a hard cross court deep. As has happened countless times in her college career, there was no returning the shot. With an 11-5 win in the fourth, Sobhy was the 2015 Individual Champion.

This is Sobhy’s fourth individual intercollegiate title; she has also won three team titles with the Crimson. Sobhy is only the second player in women’s college squash history to win four individual titles. Princeton head coach Gail Ramsay, for whom the Ramsay Cup is named, won four titles between 1977 and 1980 while playing for Penn State. Ramsay was on hand to present the trophy to Sobhy.

Sobhy has been dominant throughout her four years of intercollegiate play. Playing number 1 for Harvard, she never lost a match. She has been named a First-Team All American three times, and she has also been named to three All Ivy League Teams. She was been the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2012, 2013, and 2014, and she was also named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2012.

At this year’s Women’s National Team Championships, Sobhy was presented with the 2015 Richey Award. The Richey Award is the highest individual honor in women’s college squash, and it is awarded annually to a player who best exemplifies the ideals of squash in her love of and devotion to the game, her strong sense of fairness, and her excellence of play and leadership.

Sobhy leaves Harvard as one of the best players in the history of college squash. Wherever her squash career takes her, it will exciting to see what she conquers next.