Harvard celebrates with the Howe Cup following the match (Harvard Squash).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The No. 2 Harvard women's squash team is now No. 1 for the 14th time in program history.
The Crimson (15-1) raced out to an early lead before holding off a late No. 4 Trinity charge to win the Howe Cup, 5-4, Sunday afternoon at the Brady Squash Courts for the second consecutive year, third time in four tries and the 14th time overall, the second-most all-time.
Harvard, which entered the year as the top-ranked team in the polls, took a commanding 3-0 lead after the first flight of matches, winning each in four games. At No. 3, Haley Mendez took the first two games against Wee Nee Low, 11-4, 11-8, before dropping the third, 11-6. She rebounded to take the fourth, 11-8, to lock up the win. No. 6 Natasha Kingshott followed suit, edging Natalie Babjukova, 11-5, 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, while Megan Murray handled Chanel Erasmus, 11-2, 6-11, 12-10, 11-3, at No. 9.
With Harvard in control of the match, Trinity started to battle back, winning two of the three matches in the second flight; however, No. 5 Saumya Karki swept Robyn Hodgson, 11-4, 11-9, 11-5, to put the Crimson on the verge of clinching.
In the final grouping, undefeated and reigning CSA Individual National champion Amanda Sobhy squared off with Kanzy El Defrawy, the only person to win a game against the Crimson sophomore in collegiate squash, at No. 1. Sobhy made quick work of the freshman, winning 11-8, 11-7, 11-8, to earn the pivotal fifth point and clinch the title.
The Bantams took the other two matches in the flight, making the final score much closer than the 7-2 meeting on Feb. 6 at the Murr Center, but the result was still the same for the Crimson, who won 20 of its 27 matches on the weekend.
With team play complete, several members of the Crimson will complete in the CSA Individual National Championship March 1-3 at Trinity.
No. 1 Amanda Sobhy (H) def. Kanzy El Defrawy (T) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-8
No. 2 Catalina Pelaez (T) def. Laura Gemmell (H) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-9
No. 3 Haley Mendez (H) def. Wee Nee Low (T) 3-1: 11-4, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8
No. 4 Ashley Tidman (T) def. Michelle Gemmell (H) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-7
No. 5 Saumya Karki (H) def. Robyn Hodgson (T) 3-0: 11-4, 11-9, 11-5
No. 6 Natasha Kingshott (H) def. Natalie Babjukova (T) 3-1: 11-5, 12-10, 7-11, 11-7
No. 7 Sachika Balvani (T) def. Sarah Mumanachit (H) 3-1: 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-1
No. 8 Jennefier Pelletier (T) def. Julianne Chu (H) 3-0: 11-5, 11-2, 11-5
No. 9 Megan Murray (H) def. Chanel Erasmus (T) 3-1: 11-2, 6-11, 12-10, 11-3
No. 10 Isabelle Dowling (H) def. Katiria Sanchez (T) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-6