No. 1 Women’s Squash Begins Howe Cup Defense

No. 1 Women’s Squash Begins Howe Cup Defense

Teams

Date/Time
Location

Series Record
Last Meeting
Streak

No. 1 Harvard (10-0) vs. No. 8 Cornell (9-7)
Friday, Feb. 26, - 12 p.m.
Brady Squash Center
Harvard leads, 22-0
W, 9-0 (Feb. 7, 2016)
W22

Harvard will look to claim its 16th national title (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.
 – With its sights on a 16th national championship, No. 1 women's squash will look to repeat as Howe Cup champions this weekend at the CSA National Team Championship held at Yale. Harvard will open its Howe Cup campaign with a quarterfinal match against No. 8 Cornell Friday at noon.

The winner of Friday's match will go on to face the winner of the Yale versus Trinity match in a semifinal contest the following day at noon. The championship match will take place Sunday at 11 a.m.

Ivy Champs
Harvard captured its 20th Ivy League championship in program history, earning a 9-0 sweep at Yale to claim the outright title Feb. 14. The 20th title marks the most in league history, besting second-place Princeton by 14 titles. The Crimson finished the Ancient Eight with an undefeated mark for the 18th time in program history, claiming its fourth title in the past seven seasons.

National Defense
Harvard captured its 15th national title in program history last season, downing Trinity, 7-2, in the title game. Michelle Gemmell clinched the victory at the No. 4 position for Harvard as the Crimson cruised to the title.

Howe Cup History
Since the creation of the Howe Cup team championship in 1973, Harvard has brought home the title on 15 occasions. The Crimson's 15 are second most in the competition's history with Princeton winning the Cup 17 times.

Since the turn of the century, the Crimson has appeared in 11 championship matches, being crowned national champions five times (2001, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015) and finished second on six occasions. Harvard's five titles since 2000 is tops amongst the Ancient Eight.

In the five seasons of the Gregory Lee '87 and Russell Ball '88 Endowed Coach for Squash at Harvard University Mike Way's tenure, the Crimson has never finished lower than second at the team championship, winning it all thrice.

The Crimson is the last team to take home back-to-back Howe Cups, finishing on top in 2012 and 2013. Harvard also holds the record for most consecutive Howe Cup championships, lifting the Cup five-straight years between 1993 and 1997.

Previous Women's Squash National Champions
Princeton – 17 (2009)
Harvard – 15 (2014)
Yale – 7 (2011)
Trinity – 3 (2014)
Penn – 1 (2000)

The Way
the Gregory Lee '87 and Russell Ball '88 Endowed Coach for Squash at Harvard University Mike Way became the fastest coach in women's squash history to earn three How Cup titles last season, accomplishing the feat in just five seasons at the helm of the Crimson. With a fourth title, Way would move into sole possession of fourth on the all-time coaching How Cup title list.

Championship Pedigree
Every player with at least one full season of experience has played in the Howe Cup final at least once, with the Crimson's four seniors battling for the top-spot every season of their career.

Harvard's senior class has had great success from day one, losing only three matches in four years, for an overall record of 54-3. The seniors hold a 2-1 record in the Championship game, squaring off against Trinity in each final the past three championship matches.

Scouting Cornell
Cornell finished the regular season with a 9-7 record, including a 2-5 mark in Ivy League play. The Big Red has bowed out in the opening round of the Howe Cup Championship the past eight seasons.

Harvard swept Cornell in its prior matchup Feb. 7 at the Belkin International Squash Courts. The Crimson was dominant all-around, taking all but one game to remain undefeated against the Big Red in the all-time series. 

Unbeaten
Harvard is the only women's squash program in the nation to hold an undefeated record.

No. 1 Better
Members of the Crimson have been dominant at the No. 1 position, combining for a perfect 97-0 record over the past seven seasons. Sobhy, Leonard and Alyssa Mehta have each picked up wins at the top spot this season.

Undefeated
Harvard boasts eight student-athletes with undefeated marks in the regular season. Michelle Gemmell, Saumya Karki and Sophie Mehta each posted nine wins on the year. Freshmen Kayley Leonard and Sabrina Sobhy tallied eight and seven victories. Isabelle Dowling and Caroline Monrad collected four wins, while Allie Sperry tallied one triumph, respectively.

New Year, Same Result
Harvard is 6-0 starting the New Year under Way. The Crimson has posted a 17-2 record during the month of January under Way.

Ivy Strong
Harvard has never dropped an Ivy League opener in its 40-year history and has posted a 38-3 mark in conference play under Way, including three perfect 7-0 seasons.

Aye, Aye Captain
Dowling and Karki will serve as team captains for the season. Dowling has posted a 36-9 record during her career while Karki has gone 43-5 during her time in Crimson.

Up Next
Harvard will head to the CSA Individual Nationals March 4-6 in Stamford, Connecticut.

Ivy League Digital Network
The Ivy League Digital Network returns for a third season as the home for all live streaming and on-demand video content for each of the conference's eight institutions. Broadcast in full HD and featuring a live score bug and play-by-play and color commentary, the Ivy League Digital Network provides fans with unprecedented access to the Ancient Eight.

Multiple subscription options are available to fans, including school-specific and league-wide passes. To learn more about the Ivy League Digital Network or to sign-up today, click here.

Social Stream
Use the Social Stream on GoCrimson.com to stay connected with the Crimson on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube this year. The Social Stream brings the conversation from all four platforms into one convenient location, allowing fans of all Harvard Athletics teams to monitor the action in real time.