The Women’s College Team Nationals kicked off at Harvard University and MIT on Friday with action across five divisions.
In the Howe Cup, made up of the top eight teams in the country, Yale defeated Stanford 5-4 in a match that was the highlight of the day’s action. Stanford—ranked No. 4 to Yale’s 5—won 6-3 in their regular season match three weeks ago and had also topped the Bulldogs in the 2017 team nationals. In today’s match, Yale’s fortunes turned in a hotly contested second round of matches, all of which went to five games. In a matchup of sophomore No. 2’s, Yale’s Helen Teegan bested Chloe Chemtob, and in the No. 5 match Jocelyn Lehman beat Penn’s Caroline Neave—leaving the team score tied at 3-3 going into the third round of matches. Yale then captured the No. 1 and No. 7 matches to secure a semifinal berth.
No. 2 Princeton defeated Ivy League rival No. 7 Penn 6-3 in a the bottom half of the draw. Penn’s strength at the top of the lineup was evident as they took positions 1-3, including a dominant three game win by Penn No. 1 Reeham Sedky over Olivia Fiechter, extending Sedky’s record to 14-0 on the season. Princeton’s depth proved too much for a Penn team depleted by injury, however, winning the bottom six positions to advance to the semifinal.
No. 1 seed Harvard and No. 3 seed Trinity both cruised to 9-0 victories in their respective quarterfinals against Cornell and Columbia. The winning teams only dropped one individual game each on their way to the semifinals. The win is Harvard’s 51st consecutive victory over a span of four seasons. They will face rival Yale in the semifinals, while Trinity will take on Princeton, to whom they narrowly lost 5-4 during the regular season.
The top two seeds in the Kurtz Cup advanced in comfortable fashion. Top seeded Drexel defeated Amherst 8-0, dropping no individual games across the eight matches. Two seed Dartmouth topped Middlebury 8-1, aided by a hard-fought first round win at No. 3 by Sandra Reiss over Alexa Comai in five games.
The other two Kurtz Cup quarterfinals each went to the wire. Five seed Brown rode wins through the middle of its lineup to beat four seed George Washington 5-4, after the teams had not faced off in the regular season. With Brown needing to find two wins out of the final round of three matches, George Washington No. 1 Zoe Foo Yuk Han defeated Brown’s Qunicy Beck in five games, but Brown No. 4 Isabel Young and No. 7 Scarlett Bergam each captured victories to push the Bears through to the semifinals.
In an equally close match, sixth-seeded University of Virginia pushed third-seed Williams to the limit in the bottom half of the draw. Virginia led 4-2 after the first two rounds of matches, necessitating that Williams sweep the numbers 1, 4, and 7 matches to advance. Williams did so, including capturing a dramatic five-game battle at No. 4 between Esther Beck of Williams and Tara Arya of Virginia.
Dickinson, the top seed in the Walker Cup, was pushed by eight seed Colby in match that was much tighter than the rankings would have predicted. In the first round of matches, Dickinson went up 3-0 with a close four game win at No. 6, and a comeback from 2-0 down by No. 3 Eloise Nimoityn over Julianna Song. In the second round, Dickinson again relied on a five-game comeback, as Domenica Romo salvaged the match from a 2-0 deficit against Madiha Molani. Colby captured its own five-game win at the top position, yet Dickinson won with an overall score of 6-3.
Dickinson will face the five seed Wesleyan women in the semifinal, who upset four seed Franklin & Marshall 5-4 in their quarterfinal. Franklin & Marshall jumped to a 2-1 overall lead after the first round of matches on the strength of four game wins at No. 3 and No. 6 by Andreina Benedith and Grace Smith. Wesleyan evened the overall score at 3-3 after the second round with a five-game win by Aditi Prasad over Lauren Johnston. In the final set of matches, Wesleyan rode a dominant performance by senior No. 1 Laila Samy over Sherilyn Yang to advance to the semifinal.
The results on the bottom half of the draw were somewhat more one-sided, as Bates took the top seven matches to defeat Hamilton 7-2, and two seed Tufts didn’t drop an individual game in its 9-0 win over St. Lawrence. Though the lower seed at No. 3, Bates has beaten Tufts in both of their regular season meetings, a trend that the Jumbos will look to reverse on Saturday.
Epps top seed Bowdoin controlled play in a 9-0 win against Georgetown. The closest match saw Bowdoin No. 8 Hannah Cooke winning the fourth and fifth games 12-10 to best Megan Nilles. Bowdoin will face four seed Mount Holyoke in the semifinals, who defeated Vassar 6-3. Mount Holyoke’s Tanishka Sachidanand came back from 2-1 down at the No. 7 position against Emma Glickman to help secure the team win in the final round.
On the bottom half of the draw, Connecticut College defeated Haverford 6-3 on the strength of their team depth, winning the bottom six matches with only one of those going beyond three games in a match between Connecticut College’s Davis Lemay and Haverford’s Tia Brown.
No. 2 seed William Smith looked impressive in its win over the University of California-Berkeley despite dropping the top two positions. William Smith swept the lower seven matches, capped by a tight win in the final round of matches at No. 4 as Peyton Capute beat Jennifer Rha in five games—the first game was the longest of the day at 19-17.
The E division kicked off with just two matches on Friday. Boston University topped the University of Rochester 9-0, and Johns Hopkins edged out Wellesley 5-4. The other six teams play their first match in the quarterfinals Saturday morning.