No. 1 Women's Squash Heads to No. 8 Dartmouth in Season Opener

No. 1 Women's Squash Heads to No. 8 Dartmouth in Season Opener

Two-time defending Ramsay Cup champion Sobhy returns for her junior campaign (photo courtsey: Gil Talbot). 

Scene Setter
The No. 1 Harvard women's squash team begins its title defense at No. 8 Dartmouth Tuesday Dec. 3 before returning back to Cambridge for two matches Dec. 6.

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Last Season
Harvard concluded the 2012-13 season in style, defeating No. 4 Trinity, 5-4, in the College Squash Association Championship match to end the year with a 15-1 mark and capture the program's 14th national title. The Crimson took six of the 10 matches en route to its second consecutive national title.

Welcome Back
Despite losing three to graduation, the Crimson still returns two-time defending Ramsay Cup champion Amanda Sobhy and fellow All-American Haley Mendez. Sobhy, who was named Ivy League Player of the Year, posted a perfect 15-0 record while Mendez went 15-3. Overall, the Crimson returns six of its top nine for 2013-14. Additionally, Harvard returns Michelle Gemmell, who earned second-team All-America honors, Saumya Karki, Julianna Chu and Megan Murray 

Fresh Faces
Six freshmen will join the Crimson in its attempt to capture its third straight National title. Morgan Breitmeyer, Emily Jones, Dileas MacGowan, Keegan Mendez, Caroline Monrad and Katherine Tutrone make up the class of 2017.

Still the One
In the CSA preseason rankings, the Crimson was selected as the favorite to repeat as national champions. Harvard is followed by archrival Trinity, the team it defeated in the finals and semifinals at last year's CSA Team Championships.

Related Articles: CSA Tabs Women's Squash as Preseason Number One

The Captains
Senior Natasha Anzik and junior Mendez were both elected team captains prior to the start of the season. Anzik posted an 8-0 mark last season, while Mendez went  15-3 primarily out of the three spot.

Leading the Way
Mike Way, The Gregory Lee '87 and Russell Ball '88 Endowed Coach for Squash at Harvard University, returns for his fourth season at the helm of the Crimson. In three seasons, his teams have posted a combined 18-2 mark, including a 15-1 record last year. Assistant coach Luke Hammond returns for his third while Hameed Ahmed enters his first season at Harvard.

Related Link: Hameed Ahmed Joins Harvard Squash Coaching Staff

Unbeaten Beginnings
Harvard has come out on the winning side in its season opener in all 38 years of its existence. Last season, Harvard handily defeated Boston College, 9-0, behind strong performances by Karki and Isabelle Dowling.

About No. 8 Dartmouth
The Big Green enters 203-14 season looking to defend its title at the Kurtz Cup. Dartmouth returns seven of its top nine starters from last year's team that posted a 9-8 record and placed ninth in the final rankings. No. 2 Melina Turk and No. 3 Nina Scott are two big returners for Dartmouth.  The Big Green also welcome three new players including Jacqueline Barnes who played at the No. 1 spot at the Ivy Scrimmages Nov. 9.

Up Next
The Harvard women will return to action at home Saturday, Dec. 6 for a doubleheader against Drexel at 5 p.m. and Boston College at 7:30 p.m.