The finalists have been set for all divisions in the 2018 College Women’s Team Nationals after a full day of competition at Harvard and MIT.
The Howe Cup semifinals featured rivalry matchups as No. 1 Harvard faced No. 5 Yale, and No. 2 Princeton took on No. 3 Trinity.
Harvard entered the semifinal as the heavy favorite, carrying a 52-match winning streak and dropping only three individual matches all season. The semifinal continued the team’s dominance, showcasing Harvard’s strength through all sections of the lineup. On the glass court—where the top three positions played—Harvard’s No. 3 Kayley Leonard lost only ten total points on her way to a victory over Celine Yeap. Sabrina Sobhy (No. 2) and Georgina Kennedy (No. 1) also looked sharp in three game wins over Helen Teegan and Lucy Beecroft, respectively.
Lower in the lineup, Harvard also controlled play, winning each match with 3-0 scorelines. In the final tally, Yale only pushed Harvard to 11-9 in one game across all nine matches—an exceptionally sharp performance by the top seeds. Harvard will look to carry that momentum into the national championship match Sunday on their home courts.
The regular season match between Princeton and Trinity resulted in a 5-4 win for the Tigers, though for today’s match the Bantams had No. 5 Vanessa Raj back in the lineup, who was injured during the regular season.
The first round of matches opened with a comfortable win for each team—Princeton’s Emme Leonard took the No. 6 match 3-0 and Trinity’s Julia Le Coq won 3-0 at No. 3. The No. 9 match between Karolina Holinkova of Trinity and Princeton’s Madison Soukup was much tighter, with Holinkova going up 2-1 based on 13-11 wins in the first and third games. After Soukup won the fourth game 11-1, Holinkova refocused and won the final game, giving Trinity a 2-1 lead.
Trinity rode this momentum into the second round of matches. No. 8 Akanksha Salunkhe won her match in three games, as did Vanessa Raj despite an injury timeout for a rolled ankle halfway through the match. This placed Trinity up 4-1 in the overall score, setting the team up to have No. 2 Salma Alam Eldin punch Trinity’s ticket to the final with a 3-1 victory over Raneem El Torky. Princeton won two matches in the third round, including a win in a matchup of Richey Award finalists between Princeton’s Olivia Fiechter and Trinity’s Raneem Sharaf, but it was too little too late as Trinity advanced to Sunday’s championship match 6-3.
Drexel lived up to its top seeding in the semifinal by defeating Brown 7-2. The Dragons started quickly with three-game wins in the first round by Emma Macgillivray (No. 9), Fiona Power (No. 6), and Ryan Morgan (No. 3). The Brown women’s depth showed in the lower part of the lineup with Scarlett Bergam and Hannah Safford winning at the 7 and 8 positions, respectively. Drexel’s top half proved too much for Brown, however, as it swept the top six positions including the sister act of Anna and Hayley Hughes winning at No. 1 and No. 2.
Drexel will face its 2017 Walker Cup finals opponent in the 2018 final as Dartmouth put on a 9-0 performance in its semifinal against Williams. Dartmouth No. 3 Sandra Reiss, No. 6 Julia Potter and No. 9 Zainab Molani set the tone for the team, each winning in four games to build momentum early in the match. Dartmouth went on to win all other matches 3-0, except for the No. 4 position in which Brynn Bank came back from 2-0 down to beat Esther Baek of Williams in five games to cap off the final match of the evening.
After a tight quarterfinal against Colby on Friday, Walker Cup top seed Dickinson advanced to the finals with a win over Wesleyan. Playing in the first round of matches at No. 3, Eloise Nimoityn of Dickinson captured her second five-game win in the tournament when she stopped a comeback by Wesleyan’s Ananya Vir. Dickinson No. 9 Abbie Wingerd also captured a tight win on the way to Dickinson going up 3-0 after the first round. After Dickinson swept the next round to go up 6-0, Wesleyan captured two of the final set of matches to bring the final score to 7-2.
In the bottom half of the draw, Bates continued its strong second half of the season with a 7-2 win over Tufts—a team the Bobcats had already beaten twice earlier in the year. Bates No. 6 Katherine Manternach and No. 3 Victoria Arjoon each won important early matches to put Bates up 2-1. Bates then swept each of the next three matches 3-0 to secure the overall team win, as well as a final round match at No. 1 where Kristyna Alexova came back from two games down against Julie Yeung of Tufts.
Epps No. 1 seed Bowdoin continued its march through the draw 7-2 over Mount Holyoke, winning all top seven positions. Bowdoin competed well, finding a way to win all matches that went into extra games—No. 3 Lex Horwitz, No. 4 Diya Chopra, and No. 5 Zoe Wood each defeated their opponents 3-1.
Bowdoin will face two seed William Smith in the final after the Herons defeated Connecticut College 6-3 in the bottom half of the draw. Connecticut College got off to a strong start in the first round, with Conn No. 9 Noelle Giuliano winning in four games over Madeline Saiontz and No. 6 Allie Fuller coming back from 2-0 and match ball down against William Smith’s Anna Worcester to win in five games. In the second round of matches, William Smith regained the overall lead 4-2 on a sweep of matches including tight four-gamer between Madison Bradley of William Smith and Davis Lemay of Conn. No. 7 Djeneba Ballo then helped lock in the final 6-3 score with a five-game win over Conn’s Jacqueline Chu.
The E division completed both quarterfinal and semifinal rounds on Saturday, showcasing some of the country’s top club programs. The quarterfinals played to seed with Boston College and Colgate advancing on the top half of the draw, and Northeastern and Bucknell moving through on the bottom. Two seed Bucknell faced a stiff test from seven seed Boston University, winning 5-4.
In the semifinals, Boston College and Northeastern both securely advanced to the finals with 9-0 scorelines.