W. Squash Wins WISRA Title Again

The Harvard women's squash team had another incredible, dominating season in 1994-95. The Crimson went undefeated to win its fourth straight WISRA (Women's Intercollegiate Squash Racquets Association) national championship, and its eighth in the 12 years since the championship has been established.

Harvard also won the Howe Cup, which is the tournament that crowns the unofficial "best team." The Crimson dropped only five matches against the five teams it played in the Howe Cup, including a 7-2 win over Yale (who had entered the tournament the undefeated) in the final, to win its ninth Howe Cup in the 20 year history of that tournament.

One would be hard pressed to find that kind of domination in collegiate athletics--except, of course, on the men's side of Harvard's squash dynasty, which is racking up titles as quickly as the women. Who is more dominant in its squash world--the Harvard men or women--is unclear, but what is clear is that the Harvard women captured it national title in breathless fashion.

After winning the Howe cup on February 19th, Harvard went on to beat Yale again on February 22, 6-3, to finish the year 9-0 (6-0 Ivies) in dual matches and capture the official title. The Crimson lost fewer than two games on average in each dual match it played, losing only three once all year--to Yale in its final dual match of the year.

The team attributed its winning ways to hard work and to the good coaching of head coach Bill Doyle and his staff. (Although to even the casual observer, it is obvious that the sheer talent plays quite a role too.)

"We won because we had great coaching," co-captain Libby Eighteen said. "We worked really hard to [win the championship]. Ninety-nine percent perspiration, one percent inspiration."

Eighteen, who won the singles national championship 3-2 in sets, after being behind 2-1, had an undefeated year as the Crimson's number-one seed to lead the team. Harvard's second seed was junior Blair Clark. Clark's only loss in dual match play this year (and, in fact, so far in her collegiate career) was against Yale on February 22.

But even then, she showed what Harvard women's squash is really about when she played with an exhausting flu.

"She had the flu," Eynon said. "If we didn't have Blair, we would have had to move everyone up a notch. She sacrificed her winning record for the team."

(Continuing with the medical theme, Eynon had her wisdom teeth extracted one week before the singles championships.)

Harvard ended the season with a 34-game dual match winning streak, a streak that looks to be in good hands. Only two of the Crimson's top seven players were seniors, Eynon and co-captain Rosie Stovell, who usually played at the number five slot.

What that means is that like Harvard men's squash, domination will be the word again--at least for the near future. While other sports at Harvard struggle, squash keeps humming along and along. 1994-1995 was a banner year (as usual), and Harvard sports fans better leave more room on the wall.