Sarah Mumanachit and the Crimson open the 2011-12 campaign this weekend.(Courtesy of Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's squash squad will kick off the season against No. 9 Williams and No. 6 Stanford in Williamstown, Mass., Saturday. The Crimson is ranked No. 1 in the initial College Squash Association rankings after ending 2010-11 ranked No. 2 in the poll.
Harvard has won its opening match in all 36 years of the program's existence. The Crimson has followed by winning its second match in 35 of 36 seasons.
No. 1 Harvard
The Crimson returns nine student-athletes, while losing four, from the 2010-11 team that finished second at the CSA Team Championship a year ago. Harvard brings back 73-percent of its wins from 2010-11, as the returners combined to go 93-14 (.869) during individual matches last year.
Harvard has four All-Americans on the 2011-12 roster including Laura Gemmell, Nirasha Guruge, Natasha Kingshott and Cece Cortes. Gemmel is the two-time reigning Ivy League Player of the Year and was named to the All-American team after going 12-0 at the No. 1 position last season. Cortes, who will be serving as co-captain along with Gurgue, was part of the first women's intercollegiate doubles champions in 2010-11 alongside Sarah Mumanachit, who returns for her junior season.
No. 9 Williams
The Ephs return eight of its top nine from the 2010-11 squad that went 14-12. Williams is led by a pair of first team All-NESCAC picks in Courtney Bogle at the No. 1 spot and Laura Henry at No. 2.
The Crimson leads the all-time series against Williams, 29-4. Harvard has won the last 29 matches since 1979 after dropping the first four meetings between the institutions.
No. 6 Stanford
The Cardinal was 8-7 and tied a program best with a sixth-place finish at the CSA Team Championship in 2010-11. Pamela Chua, a first team All-American selection, returns in the No. 1 position, along with seven of Stanford's top nine from last season.
Harvard is undefeated, including three shutouts, in seven previous matchups against the Cardinal. The Crimson blanked Stanford, 9-0, last November.
The Crimson travels to Hanover, N.H. to face No. 8 Dartmouth and No. 12 Middlebury Nov. 30.