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February 17, 2013

Harvard Wins Third National Title in Four Years, Wins CSA Women's Team Title

Brackets

Portions courtesy of Dartmouth Varsity Athletics Communications and Harvard Athletic Communications

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Harvard made it back-to-back national titles in women's squash with a 5-4 win over Trinity, while Dartmouth claimed the Kurtz Cup on the final day of action at the 2013 College Squash Association (CSA) Women's Team Championships. 

Harvard's win marked the 10th consecutive year that an Ivy League squad has won the CSA Women's Team Title. Yale (2004-06, 2011), Princeton (2007-09) and Harvard (2010, 2012-13) have combined to win the 10 titles. Since the championship was established in 1973 on the women's side, Ivy League schools have 39 of the 41 championships.

The Crimson (15-1) raced out to an early lead before holding off a late No. 4 Trinity charge to win the Howe Cup, 5-4, Sunday afternoon at the Brady Squash Courts for the second consecutive year, third time in four tries and the 14th time overall, the second-most all-time.

Harvard, which entered the year as the top-ranked team in the polls, took a commanding 3-0 lead after the first flight of matches, winning each in four games. At No. 3, Haley Mendez took the first two games against Wee Nee Low, 11-4, 11-8, before dropping the third, 11-6. She rebounded to take the fourth, 11-8, to lock up the win. No. 6 Natasha Kingshott followed suit, edging Natalie Babjukova, 11-5, 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, while Megan Murrayhandled Chanel Erasmus, 11-2, 6-11, 12-10, 11-3, at No. 9.

With Harvard in control of the match, Trinity started to battle back, winning two of the three matches in the second flight; however, No. 5 Saumya Karki swept Robyn Hodgson, 11-4, 11-9, 11-5, to put the Crimson on the verge of clinching.

In the final grouping, undefeated and reigning CSA Individual National champion Amanda Sobhy squared off with Kanzy El Defrawy, the only person to win a game against the Crimson sophomore in collegiate squash, at No. 1. Sobhy made quick work of the freshman, winning 11-8, 11-7, 11-8, to earn the pivotal fifth point and clinch the title.

The Bantams took the other two matches in the flight, making the final score much closer than the 7-2 meeting on Feb. 6 at the Murr Center, but the result was still the same for the Crimson, who won 20 of its 27 matches on the weekend.

Dartmouth's women's squash team capped a perfect 3-0 weekend by defeating Bates, 8-1, on Sunday in the Kurtz Cup Final.

The Big Green wrapped up the 2012-13 campaign with their third straight win to end the season with a 9-8 record. The 8-1 victory over the Bobcats was the second of the season for the Green and White.

The team from the Upper Valley cruised to victory again, taking five of the nine matches in three games.

Senior co-captains Sarah Loucks and Corey Schafer ended their collegiate careers with 3-1 triumphs. Schafer won at the No. 1 spot, while Loucks took down Chloe Mitchell at the No. 4 spot. Loucks ends her tenure with Dartmouth on a four-match winning streak.

Nina Scott, Tori Dewey, Lydie McKenzie, Helena Darling and Oona Morris all scored 3-0 wins for Dartmouth. Scott, McKenzie and Darling each notched victories with dropping a game for the third straight match.

Katherine Nimmo earned the final point for the Big Green, defeating Lesea Bourke, 3-1, at the No. 5 spot.

In other action on Sunday, Penn upset Princeton to claim third place in the Howe Cup bracket, 7-2. Stanford defeated Brown, 9-0, in one Howe Cup consolation bracket match, while Yale beat Cornell, 6-3, in the other Howe Cup consolation match.

In the Kurtz Cup third-place match, Columbia downed Middlebury, 5-4, to claim third in that bracket.