Murr Center Hosts Women’s Squash Championships, Harvard Enters as No. 1 Seed

Murr Center Hosts Women’s Squash Championships,  Harvard Enters as No. 1 Seed

Amanda Sobhy helped the Crimson to an undefeated regular season with a 7-0 individual mark (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard's Murr Center will have a championship atmosphere this weekend, as eight teams visit Cambridge for the College Squash Association (CSA) Women's Team Championships with aspirations of hoisting the Howe Cup. The Crimson is looking for its 13th women's national title and second in the last three years.

The Particulars
The Crimson takes on No. 8 Dartmouth Friday at 11 a.m. on courts 4, 5 and the glass court with the winner facing either No. 4 Penn or No. 5 Trinity, which meet at the same time on courts 1-3. In other quarterfinal action, No. 2 Yale battles No. 7 Cornell and No. 3 Princeton sees No. 6 Stanford at 1:30 p.m. The tournament's semifinals are slated for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and the championship match is schedule to be played Sunday at 1 p.m.

Seeding the Entrants
The ninth and final CSA Team Rankings, released Feb. 12, determine the seeding of the championship event. The top eight in the rankings qualify for the Howe Cup.

No. 1 Harvard
No. 2 Yale
No. 3 Princeton
No. 4 Penn
No. 5 Trinity
No. 6 Stanford
No. 7 Cornell
No. 8 Dartmouth

Stay Updated
To remain updated on results and the tournament bracket, visit the U.S. Squash page here. Also, follow Harvard Athletics (@harvardcrimson) and Harvard squash (@harvardsquash) on Twitter for Crimson specific updates throughout the tournament.

No. 1 Harvard
The Crimson (15-0, 7-0 Ivy League) enters the Howe Cup as the team to beat after finishing the regular season with an undefeated record. Harvard is led by a balance of newcomers and veterans, including strong play in the top four spots. In the No. 1-4 positions, the Crimson is 53-3 (.946) in individual matches. Freshman Amanda Sobhy has led the Crimson at No. 1, going 7-0 since joining the starting lineup after the new year, and classmate Haley Mendez is 6-1 at No. 4. A pair of returning All-Americans, junior Laura Gemmell and senior Nirasha Guruge, are 6-1 at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

Ivy League Champions
After trailing 4-2, the No. 1 Harvard women's squash team stormed back to win the last three matches and take down No. 2 Yale to finish the regular season with a perfect 15-0 mark and capture its 18th Ivy League championship Feb. 12 in New Haven, Conn. When the contest became tied 4-4, Haley Mendez was left on the court for Harvard against Alexandra Van Arkel of Yale in the No. 4 position. The Crimson's freshman clinched the Ivy title with two extra point wins during a 3-0 (11-5, 12-10, 12-10) clean sheet victory. For the complete recap click here.

Guruge Named Richey Finalist
Nirasha Guruge was named a finalist for the 2012 Richey Award, the CSA announced Feb. 20. The honor is presented to the women's college squash player "who best exemplifies the ideals of squash in her love of and devotion to the game, her strong sense of fairness, and her excellence of play and leadership." For the complete press release click here.

No. 8 Dartmouth
The Big Green (6-6, 2-5 Ivy League) has held the No. 8 spot in the CSA rankings from the start of the season as Dartmouth has defeated every opponent ranked No. 9 and below, but fell to those ranked in the top seven.

The Crimson defeated Dartmouth, 8-1 (recap), Nov. 30 to pick up its first Ivy League victory of the season and claim its fifth straight win in the all-time series against the Big Green. Harvard leads the all-time series, 40-3, between the two schools and has not lost a nine-player match to Dartmouth since the teams' first meeting in 1974-75.

National Champions
The Harvard women's squash team has won 12 previous Howe Cup titles, second only to Princeton's 17, with its last coming in 2010.

For a complete list of Harvard national championships click here

Previous Women's Squash National Champions
Princeton – 17 (Last: 2009)
Harvard – 12 (2010)
Yale – 7 (2011)
Trinity – 2 (2003) 
Penn – 1 (2000)