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No. 1 Women’s Squash Preps for Home Opener, Triple-Header

Natasha Anzik has helped the Crimson start the season with four straight victories (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's squash team continues its non-conference slate with four matches this weekend. The Crimson, currently ranked No. 1 in the Collegiate Squash Association (CSA) poll, is looking to extend its win streak after starting the season 4-0.

Schedule
Dec. 2 – NYU – 5 p.m.
Dec. 3 – Amherst – 11 a.m.
                  vs. Wellesley (at MIT) – 2:30 p.m.
                  vs. Boston College (at MIT) – 4:30 p.m. 

No. 1 Harvard
The Crimson is off to a 4-0 start for the seventh consecutive season and 18th time in the last 20 years. Harvard features a mix of veterans and underclassmen, as one senior, four juniors, one sophomore and three freshmen have seen time in the top nine. Nirasha Guruge, Natasha Kingshott, Haley Mendez and Sarah Mumanachit have started the year with undefeated 4-0 marks. Julianne Chu (3-0), Eliza Calihan (2-0) and Laura Gemmell (2-0) also remain undefeated. 

Unblemished
Guruge, Kingshott and Mendez have swept their way to 4-0 records this season, winning all of their matches by 3-0 tallies. 

Last Time Out
The top-ranked Crimson women's squash team defeated No. 8 Dartmouth, 8-1, and No. 12 Middlebury, 9-0, to claim its third and fourth consecutive victories to open the season at Hanover, N.H., Wednesday. All-American Laura Gemmell made her season debut in the No. 1 position against Dartmouth and downed Corey Schafer, 3-1 (11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 11-1). Nirasha Guruge, Haley Mendez and Natasha Kingshott moved to the No. 2-4 positions, after starting the first two matches at No. 1-3 for the Crimson, and swept each of their matches. Sarah Mumanachit and Julianne Chu added sweeps at No.5 and 6, respectively, to propel Harvard past No. 8 Dartmouth. In the nightcap, the Crimson rolled past No. 12 Middlebury, 9-0, in true sweeping fashion, winning all nine matches 3-0. Julie Monrad received her first start in the top-nine and capitalized with a 3-0 win (11-7, 11-6, 11-7) in the No. 9 position against Middlebury.

New York University
The Bobcats squash program is currently classified as an emerging club team by the CSA. NYU is ranked No. 38 of 39 teams in the CSA poll. 

The Crimson women's squash squad has never faced NYU in the program's history. 

Amherst
The Lord Jeffs (1-0) opened the 2011-12 season ranked No. 15 after finishing at No. 14 in 2010-11. Amherst beat No. 20 Vassar in its season-opening match Wednesday in a convincing 9-0 shutout. The Lord Jeffs won 27-of-28 games played against Vassar. 

Harvard leads the all-time series with Amherst, 9-0. The Crimson last defeated the Lord Jeffs, 9-0, in 2003. 

Wellesley
The Blue has dropped its last four matches and enters the weekend with a 2-5 overall record. Alexandra Spiliakos posts the squad's best individual record with a 3-4 mark in the No. 6 position. Wellesley is ranked No. 26 in the latest CSA poll. 

Harvard has not met Wellesley since 1982, when the Crimson downed the Blue, 7-0. Harvard leads the all-time series against Wellesley, 7-2. 

Boston College
Boston College finished seventh in the Epps Cup (D Division) a year ago and ended the 2010-11 campaign ranked No. 31 in the CSA rankings. The Eagles return four players from last year's top nine and are again ranked No. 31 by the CSA. 

This will be the first meeting between Harvard and BC in women's squash. 

Up Next
Harvard will take a break from regular-season play before starting its Ivy League schedule against Penn Jan. 14.