Thursday, December 7, 2023

Harvard girls chase record sixth straight College team title

Gigi Yeung (Yale) and Grace Doyle (Princeton) in action

Hosts Yale fall to Princeton
By CSA Reporters

On day two of the CSA Women’s Team National Championships, top-seeded Harvard ran away with an 8-1 victory over Trinity to clinch a spot in the Howe Cup finals for the 12th consecutive season. Number two seeds Princeton await them in the final after beating tournament hosts Yale 6-3.

Harvard opened up strongly against the Bantams, posting three quick wins at the second, fifth and eighth positions. The first point of the day came by way of co-captain Amelia Henley, who shutout her opponent at the second pairing. Eleonore Evans and Evie Coxon added victories to push the Crimson lead to 3-0.

At the third position, Hana Moataz posted a stellar 3-0 victory, outscoring her Bantam opponent 33-16 in the process.

First-year Charlotte Orcutt clinched the match for the Crimson at the ninth position, overcoming a third-set tiebreaker loss to win her match 3-1. Orcutt’s win gave the Crimson a 5-0 lead and a spot in the championship round.

Gina Kennedy, Hannah Craig and Maddie Chai all added wins to bring the Harvard total to eight on the afternoon.

The second day of the 2020 CSA National Collegiate Women’s Team Championships featured semi-final matches across five divisions and two venues on Saturday. All division finals will be played at Yale University today (Sunday).

Howe Cup
A jam-packed Brady Squash Center welcomed the Howe Cup semi-finalists on the second day of competition and the players did not disappoint.

The marquee match-up was the meeting of longtime rivals, Princeton and Yale, who were seeded second and third, respectively.

With the partisan home crowd behind them, Yale jumped out to a 2-1 lead after the first wave of matches. When the second group of matches stepped on court, however, the tide changed in Princeton’s favor.

The Tigers won the next three matches – and the following two after Yale senior captain Lucy Beecroft tried to the stem the tide with a win of her own – to capture the win 6-3.

Princeton earned the rematch they were looking for, as Harvard took the other semi-final against Trinity, 8-1. Trinity put up a strong fight, sending five different matches to four games, but ultimately, they could not overcome a deep and experienced Harvard squad.

The Howe Division consolation semis produced their fair share of drama as well. Both contests finished with very close 5-4 scorelines, as they did during the regular season.

In the end, both Stanford and Columbia reversed their results from the regular season against Drexel and Penn, respectively, and will meet with the fifth place position on the line.

Abigail Dichter (Brown) and Jesse Brownell (Dartmouth)

Kurtz Cup
Like in the Howe Division, the top four seeds met for two spots in the final, and the results went the way of the higher-ranked teams. In the 1-versus-4 Dartmouth-Brown match, all three first-wave matches went the distance, with Dartmouth prevailing in all three. Those results set the tone for the rest of the match, as Dartmouth won the next three matches on the way to an 8-1 win.

In the other semi-final, second seed Virginia faced a stiff contest from third-seeded Cornell, but emerged with a 6-3 win in the end. UVA went 2-1 in each wave of matches to keep the Big Red at bay and clinch their berth in the final against Dartmouth.

While the drama of those two matches were unfolding, 6-seed George Washington and 7-seed Middlebury had a battle of their own going. GW’s strength at the top of the ladder contrasted with Middlebury’s depth to create a 4-4 scoreline through eight matches. It came down to the Number 6 players, and GW’s Vedika Arunachlam clinched the win the Colonials with a 3-0 triumph. GW will face Williams in the consolation final tomorrow afternoon.

Walker Division
As expected, the action on court was intense starting with the open matches of the day between Walker Division teams. The notable match of the morning session involved the second and third seeds, Franklin & Marshall and Tufts. The back-and-forth affair could have gone either way and culminated with two matches on court with Tufts leading 4-3. In quick succession, however, F&M’s No. 1 Audrey Berling and No. 7 Zoe Qualye each captured exhausting five-game victories to turn the tides and clinch the team win for the Diplomats.

The other Walker Cup semifinal went decisively to Amherst College, who swept their fourth-seeded opponent, Wesleyan, 9-0. The final between Amherst and F&M will be the first meeting between the two teams this season. In the consolation bracket, 7-seed Dickinson upset sixth-seeded William Smith, 6-3, and Bowdoin earned their third victory of the season over Hamilton.

Epps Division
The top two seeds of the Epps Division, Connecticut College and St. Lawrence University, moved on to tomorrow’s final in decisive fashion. St. Lawrence had a comfortable 8-1 win over upstarts Georgetown, and top seed Conn College handled the challenge from Colby in a 6-3 victory. The Conn-Colby match was close at the beginning, including an early 2-2 team score, but Conn gradually pulled away to secure the win.

In consolation play, fifth seeded Haverford played Bucknell for the third time this season and overcame that mental hurdle with an 8-1 win. They will meet Boston College in tomorrow’s consolation final thanks to a 7-2 result against Mount Holyoke.

E Division
With 11 teams in E Division play, the quarterfinals only started on Saturday morning, this time at Hopkins School in New Haven. The top three seeds – Vassar College, Northeastern University, and Denison University – cruised to semifinal berths with strong victories, but the quarterfinal of the day was a rematch between Wellesley College and Boston University. Early in February, Wellesley edged BU 5-4 to earn the higher seed, but Boston turned the tables with a 5-4 victory of their own this time around.

In the afternoon semifinal rounds, the seeds held true to form with Vassar and Northeastern moving on to Sunday morning’s final at Yale. BU and Denison will meet in the 3/4 playoff. Wellesley, Washington University in St. Louis, Bard, and Rochester all earned wins in the E Division consolation matches.

Harvard Highlights
Harvard has now won a CSA-record 82 consecutive matches dating back to 2014-15.
Amelia Henley extends her win streak to a team-best 51 matches.
Harvard has earned a spot in the Howe Cup finals for the 12th season in a row.
Hannah Craig and Eleonore Evans both keep their perfect seasons alive, posting 16-0 records thus far in 2019-20.
The Crimson remain undefeated at the top three positions in the line-up this year, posting a 48-0 record in 16 matches.
The Crimson is 19-8 all-time in the Howe Cup championship match.
This will be the first meeting between the two Ivy League foes in the national championship since 2009.
Harvard has won nine-straight matches against Princeton, including two in Howe Cup play.


Pictures by MICHAEL BELLO courtesy of College Squash Association


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