Harvard Wins CSA Women’s Team National Championships!

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Harvard University won their 19th Howe Cup on Sunday in a 9-0 win over third seed Trinity College (photo credit: Michael T. Bello)

Titles were awarded across five divisions Sunday in the final day of the 2019 College Squash Association Women’s Team National Championships at Trinity College and Wesleyan University. The Harvard women’s team captured the Women’s National Team Championship—the Howe Cup—in dominant fashion with a 9-0 finals win over Trinity. The championship was Harvard’s 19th Howe Cup and their fifth in a row.

Full results for the competition are available at the Tournament Home Page.

Howe Division

Harvard’s Kayley Leonard and Trinity’s Vanessa Raj

Through 12 matches this season, top-seeded Harvard had not lost an individual match all season and carried a 65-match winning streak into Sunday’s final against Trinity. Trinity, playing on their home courts and with plenty of tournament final experience of their own, were unfazed and put an early scare into Harvard’s first three players.

Trinity’s No. 3 senior Salma Alam Eldin started things on the right foot with a win in the first game against Harvard’s Amelia Henley and the No. 6 and 9 matches went to the brink before Harvard captured each of those first two games.  The No. 3 match stayed tight in Game 2, with Henley winning in extra points 13-11.  Meanwhile, Harvard’s Hana Moataz and Hannah Craig each settled down to win their matches in three games.  Alam Eldin and Henley battled throughout the match, but it was the Harvard player who emerged victorious.

Trinity’s Lakeesha Rarere and Harvard’s Sophie Mehta

The 3-0 lead seemed to help build Harvard’s confidence and the second wave of players came out firing. No. 5 Amina Yousry made quick work of her match, and then things lined up for Harvard’s senior co-captain No. 8 Sophie Mehta to clinch the victory for the Crimson. Mehta prevailed in three games, and the celebration was on again for the Harvard women.

With all of the other matches finished and the championship won, all attention turned to the No. 1 match between Harvard’s senior co-captain and Betty Richey Award finalist Sabrina Sobhy and Trinity’s first-year Sarahi Lopez Dominguez.  In her first Howe Cup match, the rookie from Trinity impressed, taking the first game from Harvard’s veteran.  Sobhy settled down after that, however, and took control of the match, winning the ninth team point in four games.

In other Howe Division matches, Stanford upset Princeton to clinch a Top-3 ranking for the first time in program history, Yale defeated Columbia, and Drexel upset local rivals Penn.

Kurtz Cup

The Kurtz Cup final featured Ivy League rivals Dartmouth, the top seed, and Cornell, the No. 3 seed.  The back-and-forth affair included several lead changes and seven matches that progressed past the minimum three games.  Dartmouth jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the early going, but Cornell clawed back into it with a 2-1 wave of their own in the second round.

Dartmouth’s Junnat Anwar and Cornell’s Mimi Delisser

In the critical third wave, Cornell’s No. 1 put them on the brink of victory. And again, with victory on the line, the experience of a senior co-captain paid dividends. Cornell’s No. 7 Lucy Martin came back in the fifth game against Dartmouth’s Darden Gildea to clinch the championship.

 

This is Cornell’s first Kurtz Cup Championship since 2007.

Walker Division

Bates returned to the Walker Division championship match looking to repeat as champions against a Tufts squad that has impressed all year long.  The two teams had met twice this year – once during the regular season and once in the NESCAC Championships – and Tufts had won both contests in close results.

Bates got the start it needed from its first three players on court.  All three earned victories, including a big five-game win at No. 6 by Natasha Jones, which may have swung the momentum in Bates’s favor for good. Tufts’s Chloe Kantor scored a quick victory at No. 8, but Bates’s No. 2 Kristyna Alexova won in three games and their No. 5 Katherine Manternach won another close 4-gamer to reach the necessary five team points for the win.  The final score of the match was 6-3.

Bates has now won the Walker Cup in three of the last four years after having not won it before 2016.

Epps Division

With the top two seeds eliminated in the semifinals, the Epps Division final featured third seed William Smith and fourth seed Connecticut College.  The two teams did not meet during the regular season, so each was looking to set the tone early for the match.  Conn captured the early momentum with quick wins at Nos. 6 and 9, and they moved ahead early in the No. 5 and 8 matches while the No. 3 match went to a fourth game.  William Smith got on the team scoreboard with the win at No. 3, but Conn College’s depth proved to be too much in the end.  Despite William Smith’s additional victories at positions 1 and 2, the Camels won the lower six positions for a convincing 6-3 Finals victory.

Conn College will be the newest team to add their name to list of Epps Division winners, their first in program history.

E Division

After the first two days of matches at Wesleyan University, top-seeded Vassar and 6-seed Bowdoin played the E Division final at Trinity and staged a great battle. The match was close to start with two of the first three matches going to four games, but Vassar captured all three wins for a crucial early lead. Vassar did not look back from there, clinching the championship title in the next wave, going 2-1.  Bowdoin won an additional match at the No. 1 position, but Vassar came home with the 7-2 win.  Vassar’s win marked the first E Division championship for their program.