Titles were awarded across five divisions Sunday in the final day of the College Women’s Team Nationals at Harvard University and MIT. The Harvard women’s team captured the Women’s National Team Championship—the Howe Cup—in spectacular fashion with a 9-0 finals win over Trinity.
Full results are available at www.csasquash.com/womensnationals2018.
Harvard University entered the Howe Cup undefeated in 50 matches and having won three consecutive titles. When play was completed, the team had surpassed even the exceptionally high expectations placed on it, defeating each opponent in the tournament 9-0 and dropping only six individual games in the process. The championship brings Harvard its 18th Howe Cup—a college record surpassing Princeton’s 17.
In the first round of matches—positions 3, 6 and 9—Julia Le Coq of Trinity fell Kayley Leonard in a tight match at No. 3 with Leonard pulling out a 3-1 win with a 13-11 fourth game. Harvard No. 9 Hannah Craig and No. 6 Sue Ann Yong each won in three games to complete the first-round sweep.
The second round saw Harvard consolidate the lead with four game wins by No. 8 Sophie Mehta over Akanksha Salunkhe and No. 5 Amelia Henley over Vanessa Raj.
In the final set of matches, Harvard completed the 9-0 feat with wins a sharp performance by 2017 college individual champion Georgina Kennedy over Richey Award finalist Raneem Sharaf at the No. 1 position.
The numbers speak for themselves; the win brings Harvard’s streak to 53 consecutive matches, and caps a season in which the Crimson only lost three individual matches in 15 total contests. This Harvard team will go down as one of the most dominant squads in college squash history.
The Kurtz Cup final featured top seed Drexel against second-seeded Dartmouth. The teams contested the Kurtz final in both 2016 and 2017, with Dartmouth winning 5-4 in each of those encounters. The Drexel women turned the tide in 2018, capturing their first Kurtz Cup title.
Dartmouth battled through the lower half of the lineup, showcasing its ladder depth with gritty five-game wins at the 7, 8 and 9 positions. At No. 7 and 8, Ellie Gozigian and Emma Roberts of Dartmouth held off comebacks by Stephanie Ryan and Apoorva Addepalli, and Zainab Molani came back from 2-1 down against Emma Macgillivray of Drexel.
Drexel captured key matches in the middle two positions to push the momentum in its favor, with Fiona Power (No. 6) and Ona Prokes (No. 5) each winning in four games against Dartmouth’s Julia Potter and Janel Gaube, respectively. Drexel secured the title with their strength at the top, sweeping positions 1 through 4 with No. 1 Anna Hughes coming back from 2-0 down against Dartmouth’s Anne Blasberg.
Top seeded Dickinson looked to take home its first Walker Cup as the team faced three seed Bates, the 2016 Walker Cup champion. Bates continued its surge through the second half of the season, however, upsetting Dickinson with a dominant 7-2 performance in the final.
Dickinson got its teeth into the match in the first round, with No. 9 Abbie Winger taking a four-game match over Cata Robert. Bates still gained a 2-1 overall lead after the first round, and then consolidated the team win going 3-0 in the second round of matches with wins by Katie Bull (No. 8), Maeve O’Brien (No. 5) and Luca Polgar (No. 2). The Bobcats then captured two of the final round matches to bring the final tally to 7-2.
The most closely contested final of the day occurred in the Epps Cup, where William Smith upset top seeded Bowdoin 5-4.
Bowdoin found success in the opening three matches, with a win by Natasha Belsky at No. 6 and a very close five-game result for Lex Horwitz over Joana Pacheco of William Smith. The second round of matches swung the momentum back to William Smith, with Karina Lazaro winning at No. 8 and Madison Bradley executing a comeback from 2-0 down against Zoe Wood, evening the overall match score at 3-3 going into the final round.
Wins by William Smith’s Djeneba Ballo at No. 7 and Bowdoin’s Diya Chopra at No. 4 brought the team score to 4-4, with the No. 1 match still on court. William Smith’s Gabrielle Fraser fought off a strong challenge from Lindsey Bindra of Bowdoin to take the match in four games, clinching the third Epps Cup title for William Smith.
The E division final was a Boston showdown between top seed Boston College and three seed Northeastern. Both teams entered in sharp form, winning their respective semifinals 9-0. In the final, Northeastern proved to be too strong as it garnered the title 7-2.
Northeastern was led by five-game wins for Malia Bow (No. 8) and Maggie Markgraf (No. 6), as well as a win at No. 4 by Jessica Qiu over Grace Tregidgo that included an 18-16 game—the second longest of the tournament.
The E championship is the first for the Northeastern women’s team in any division.