Saumya Karki earned a win at No. 5 for the Crimson Sunday afternoon (Gil Talbot).
PRINCETON, N.J. - The top-ranked Harvard women's squash team had multiple opportunities to close out No. 4 Princeton, but the Crimson couldn't do it and the Tigers were able to rally late to knock off the Crimson, 5-4, Sunday afternoon at Jadwin Gymnasium.
The Crimson (5-1, 2-1) held advantages in three of the five matches that it lost and was tied in a fourth contest but failed to hold the lead in any of them to fall archrival Princeton (5-0, 2-0) for the first time since 2009.
Heading into the final three matchups, the teams were tied at three wins apiece with positions one, four and seven remaining on the ladder. No. 1 Amanda Sobhy made quick work of her opponent, Julie Cerullo, 11-3, 11-4, 11-4, to give the Crimson a 4-3 advantage.
At No. 4, freshmen Michelle Gemmell and Rachel Leizman engaged in a see-saw affair. The two split the first four games, Gemmell winning one and four, before the two went to extra points in the decisive fifth set. The Tigers were down to their final point with Leizman trailing 10-9, but she won the next three points to take the game and match, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10 to knot the score at 4.
The matchup came down to No. 7 between Harvard's Sarah Mumanachit and Alex Sawin. After dropping the first game, 11-4, Mumanachit won the second, 12-10; however, Sawin won the next two, 11-6, 11-9, to secure the win for the Tigers.
In the first grouping, the Tigers took an early lead, winning two of the three pairings at three, six and nine. No. 6 Natasha Kingshott picked up the lone win for Harvard, sweeping Alexis Saunders, 11-8, 11-2, 11-5.
The Crimson responded by winning two in the next three matches. Laura Gemmell earned a win, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, over Elizabeth Eyre at No. 2 and Saumya Karki blanked Alexandra Lunt at No. 5, 11-7, 11-2, 11-8, to tie the match and set up the late dramatics.
Harvard returns to action Saturday with three matches in Amherst against the Jeffs, Hamilton and Wesleyan.
No. 1 Amanda Sobhy (H) def. Julie Cerullo (P) 3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 11-4
No. 2 Laura Gemmell (H) def. Elizabeth Eyre (P) 3-1: 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7
No. 3 Nicole Bunyan (P) def. Haley Mendez (H) 3-1: 9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9
No. 4 Rachel Leizman (P) def. Michelle Gemmell (H) 3-2: 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10
No. 5 Saumya Karki (H) def. Alexandra Lunt (P) 3-0: 11-7, 11-2, 11-8
No. 6 Natasha Kingshott (H) def. Alexis Saunders (P) 3-0: 11-8, 11-2, 11-5
No. 7 Alex Sawin (P) def. Sarah Mumanachit (H) 3-1: 11-4, 10-12, 11-5, 14-12
No. 8 Hallie Dewey (P) def. Isabelle Dowling (H) 3-2: 5-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-6, 11-9
No. 9 Tara Harrington (P) def. Megan Murray (H) 3-1: 12-10, 8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-3
No. 10 Casey Cortes (P) def. Eliza Calihan (H) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 11-6