CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 1 Harvard women's squash program entered the 2018 Collegiate Squash Association's Howe Cup draw as heavy favorites and demonstrated why. The Crimson capped a perfect season (15-0) with a 9-0 victory against No. 3 Trinity, earning its fourth consecutive national championship in the process. Harvard's seventh title in the past nine seasons is its 18th overall – the most of any program in the country.
The first wave got things rolling for Harvard. Co-captain Sue Ann Yong claimed the first point for the Crimson, handling Lakeesha Rarere in straight games at No. 6. Moments behind the captain, freshman Hannah Craig completed a sweep of Karolina Holinkova to put Harvard up, 2-0. Before picking up the win, Kayley Leonard fought off her opponent in her fourth and deciding game that went extra points at No. 3.
The second pairings saw closer bouts as Trinity desperately needed a point. Sophie Mehta jumped out to a strong start at No. 8, but had to fend off Akanksa Salunkhe in the games that followed. Amelia Henley fell in her first game at spot five, but stormed back with three straight wins to clinch the match for Harvard, seconds ahead of Sabrina Sobhy completing her sweep at No. 2.
With the title in hand, Harvard completed the sweep in the final round. At No. 7, Eleonore Evans won three two-point games to pick up the Crimson's seventh point with a 3-1 decision. Co-captain Alyssa Mehta completed her perfect season with a 3-1 defeat of Min Jie Teh at No. 4. With the crowd migrating to the glass court, Gina Kennedy swept Raneem Sharaf at No. 1 to complete the final match of the day.
No. 1 – Gina Kennedy (H) def. Raneem Sharaf, 11-6, 14-12, 11-8
No. 2 – Sabrina Sobhy (H) def. Salma Alam Eldin, 11-6, 11-5, 11-5
No. 3 – Kayley Leonard (H) def. Julia Le Coz, 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11
No. 4 – Alyssa Mehta (H) def. Min Jie Teh, 11-7, 5-11, 11-3, 11-5
No. 5 – Amelia Henley (H) def. Vanessa Raj, 7-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-4
No. 6 – Sue Ann Yong (H) def. Lakeesha Rarere, 11-6, 11-3, 11-3
No. 7 – Eleonore Evans (H) def. Jennifer Haley, 11-9, 11-3, 9-11, 11-9
No. 8 – Sophie Mehta (H) def. Akanksha Salunkhe, 11-5, 11-8, 4-11, 11-9
No. 9 – Hannah Craig (H) def. Karolina Holinkova, 13-11, 11-7, 11-4
Order of Finish: 6, 9, 3, 8, 5*, 2, 7, 4, 1
- Harvard's 18th Howe Cup is the most of any program in the nation. Princeton has the second most titles to its name (17), ahead of Yale (7), Trinity (3), and Penn (1).
- This is the sixth Howe Cup won by Mike Way, the Gregory Lee '87 and Russell Ball '88 Endowed Coach for Squash at Harvard University.
- Way surpasses former Harvard coach Bill Doyle (5) and current Princeton coach Gail Ramsay (5) in total championships.
- Way's six Howe Cups are second only to former Princeton coach Betty Constable's 12.
- Harvard's 15th win of the season marked its 53rd straight victory. The streak dates back to Jan. 11, 2015.
- This season the Crimson went a combined 131-4 (.970) in individual matches. Of those wins, 114 were three-game sweeps.
- On a game-by-game basis, Harvard went 370–49 (.883). Trinity won 10 of those games across two matches.
- The Crimson lineup had nine players finish the team season with 10 or more wins: Eleonore Evans (15-0), Gina Kennedy (15-0), Kayley Leonard (15-0), Sophie Mehta (15-0), Hannah Craig (14-0), Amelia Henley (14-0), Alyssa Mehta (14-0), Sue Ann Yong (13-1), and Sabrina Sobhy (10-2).
The women's team will be off next week, while the men's team competes for its national championship. Select individuals will compete at the CSA Individual Championships beginning on Friday, March 2.