Harvard University won the 2023 Howe Cup (National Collegiate Women’s Team Championship) by a 5-4 score over top-seeded Trinity College on Sunday afternoon at the Penn Squash Center in Philadelphia. The title is Harvard’s eighth national championship in a row.
For the first time in several years, Harvard were not the favorites entering the tournament having lost to Trinity during the regular season, as well as a scrimmage before the season. But after outlasting Princeton in the semifinal, Harvard went toe to toe with the rival Bantams.
The key to Harvard’s victory was their determination in the matches that went the full distance of five games. In Cambridge, Trinity won 7-2 on the back of their own crucial five-game wins. Harvard was able to turn the tables on Sunday, winning all three of the five-game battles that transpired over the first two waves of play. Each of those Crimson victories was an overturned loss from the previous match-up.
In the end, the deciding match came down to the Number 1 players: Harvard’s Marina Stefanoni and Trinity’s Jana Safy. Stefanoni was focused from the start and determined to seize the moment that she knew was in her grasp. A strong opening game and a comeback in Game 2 left her with one game to win for the title. Despite a increased effort and added push from Safy, Stefanoni was not to be deterred, clinching the win and the championship in three games.
After facing the adversity earlier in the season, Harvard Head Coach Mike Way claimed that this championship was possibly the one that he was most proud of. All credit goes to both teams on a thrilling and fairly played championship.
Howe Cup – National Championship Division
(2) Harvard University def. (1) Trinity College – 5-4
Third Place Match: (3) Princeton University def. (5) University of Virginia – 5-4
Fifth Place Match: (4) Drexel University def. (7) Columbia University – 5-4
Seventh Place Match: (8) Yale University def. (6) Cornell University – 5-4
(1) University of Pennsylvania def. (2) Dartmouth College – 9-0
Third Place Match: (4) Stanford University def. (3) Tufts University – 6-3
Fifth Place Match: (7) Amherst College def. (5) Williams College – 6-3
Seventh Place Match: (6) William Smith College def. Bowdoin College – 5-4
(1) Middlebury College def. (2) Georgetown University – 6-3
Third Place Match: (6) Chatham University def (5) Wesleyan University – 5-4
Fifth Place Match: (3) Franklin & Marshall College def. (4) Colby College – 5-4
Seventh Place Match: (7) Dickinson College def. (8) Denison University – 6-3
(2) Bates College def. (4) Hamilton College – 5-4
Third Place Match: (1) St. Lawrence University def. (3) Haverford College – 8-1
Fifth Place Match: (5) Connecticut College def. (6) Mount Holyoke College – 7-2
Seventh Place: (7) Vassar College