No. 1 Women’s Squash Looks to Remain Unbeaten with Trip to No. 6 Cornell, No. 9 Columbia

(Photo Courtsey: Zack Williamson).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's squash team, ranked No. 1 in the latest College Squash Association rankings, looks to continue its undefeated season with trips to Ivy League foes No. 6 Cornell and No. 9 Columbia.

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Last Time Out
The Crimson notched its seven victory and fifth sweep of the season with a, 9-0, win over St. Lawrence Jan. 25 at the Murr Center. Harvard posted 3-0 marks in eight of its matches to cruise past the Saints. Michelle Gemmell made her debut at the top position knocking off Jillian Baker 11-1, 10-12, 11-7, 11-5 to improve to 5-0 on the season. Harvard, which now holds a 1-0 advantage in the all-time series results, also received wins from Julianne Chu (No. 2), Dileas MacGowan (No. 3) and Isabelle Dowling (No. 4) in the top half of the ladder.

Related Link: No. 1 Women's Squash Tops St. Lawrence, 9-0

About No. 1 Harvard
The Crimson has started the season with seven consecutive victories, including three in Ivy League play, to earn the No. 1 ranking by the CSA. 16 Crimson student-athletes have combined to post a 62-6 (.911) record in individual matches. Dowling and MacGowan continue to lead all Crimson with seven wins apiece, while Amanda Sobhy and Haley Mendez each boast undefeated records in the top two spots so far this season.

Win Streak
The Crimson is currently riding a 17-game win streak dating back to a close, 5-4, defeat at Princeton Jan. 13, 2013. The current win streak sits fifth in program history. Harvard's longest win streak stretched from 1991-98 where the Crimson claimed 70 straight victories.

Head of the Class
Harvard, 3-0, in Ancient Eight action, sits atop the current standings.  Yale is the only remaining Ivy League foe with an unblemished record with a 2-0 mark. The Crimson have notched 12 undefeated seasons in program history, while starting out 7-0 or better in 20 seasons of its 39 seasons.

Related Link: 2013-14 Women's Squash Standings 

Greenwich Open 2014
Sobhy, ranked 18 in the world, competed in the 2014 Harrow Greenwich Open Jan. 22-27 where she faced three top-twenty players in the world. The Sea Cliff, N.Y., native first defeated fourth-seed Dipika Pallikal of India, who is ranked 12th in the world, 12-10, 12-10, 8-11, 11-1 before edging No. 16 Nour El Sherrbini of Egypt 11-8, 11-7, 2-11, 6-11, 11-6.  In the semifinals, Sobhy was stalled by the eventual New Zealand's Joelle King, 3-2 (6-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7). King is the fifth ranked women's player in the world.

Coach's View
Assistant coach Luke Hammond is now blogging to give fans an inside perspective of the Harvard men's and women's squash teams. The blog will be periodically updated throughout the season, recapping the latest results and highlighting other interesting tidbits about the squad.

Related Link: Harvard Squash Blog

About No. 6 Cornell
The Big Red are 5-2 overall and 2-1 in conference play. Cornell bounced back with a sweep over St. Lawrence Jan. 18 after posting two consecutive losses to Yale, 9-0, and Trinity, 8-1 the weekend before. Cornell is gearing up for a three-game home stand where the squad will face Franklin & Marshall, Harvard and Dartmouth.

The Series with Cornell
The Crimson and Big Red will meet for the 20th time in program history, as Harvard holds a commanding 19-0 lead over Cornell. The Crimson has swept 14 of the 19 meetings.

About No. 9 Columbia
As the No. 9 team in the country, Columbia is riding a four game win streak with consecutive sweeps over Williams, Franklin & Marshall, Amherst and Wesleyan. The Lions own a 6-2 overall record and a 1-2 record in Ivy League action, dropping consecutive losses to Cornell and Yale earlier in the season. Columbia is led by Colette Sultana, Grace Van Arkel and Reyna Pacheco in the top three spots.

The Series with Columbia
The Crimson leads the overall series with Columbia, 2-0, after Harvard downed the Lions, 9-0 last season in Cambridge.

Up Next
In a rematch of last season's Howe Cup finals, Harvard will travel to Trinity College to take on the Bantams Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 6 p.m.