Squash Teams Win Another Two Titles
Record: Both 13-0, 6-0 Ivy
Ivy Finish: Both National Champions
Coach: Bill Doyle
Key Players: Men's Captain Andy Walter, Senior Lucy Cummings
Far from the stadium and the other athletic facilities that lie along the river in an old gym named Hemenway near the Law School, the Harvard squash teams have created a dynasty.
Dynasty may seem like a strong word, but the success of the Harvard men's and women's squash teams deserves no less.
Not only did the men's team capture its seventh straight national title this year, but this brings the total number of championships to an unbelievable 30 throughout the program's 52 years of existence.
This year, though, presented more challenges than ever before.
En route to the Potter Trophy awarded to the National Nine-Man Team Champion, Harvard encountered a tough opponent in Trinity College.
"Trinity clearly was the toughest team," said captain Andy Walter after the tournament which was held at Princeton. "They were co-ranked No. 1 with us during the season."
The Crimson gutted out a 5-4 victory against the Bantams in the finals on Feb. 23 to secure the national title.
The dramatic finish may represent a shift in the dominance of the Harvard dynasty. Only six of the top 10 players remained after graduation last year. Additionally, the Crimson will lose seniors Rafael Castro, Alex Saltonstall and Andy Walter.
Continuing the championship tradition of Harvard squash, the women's team captured its sixth straight national title.
By winning the Howe Cup and posting a perfect 9-0 record in all other matches, the Crimson notched its 10th championship in the 14 years of the program's existence.
All this success makes this season appear as though it went by without any struggle. In a pre-season scrimmage against Princeton, however, Harvard lost handily, 7-2.
"This gave Princeton the No. 1 ranking and took the pressure off," said senior Lucy Cummings. "We still thought we could win even though we were the underdogs."
Harvard faced Princeton later in the season, avenging its earlier loss with a nailbiting 5-4 victory. Wins by Cummings, sophomores Linsay Wilbur, Vanessa Hoermann and Ilana Eisenstein as well as freshman Blair Endresen helped the Crimson edge out the Tigers in its second meeting.
Harvard met with little resistance as it continued unobstructed towards the Howe Cup and the National Championship tournament.
In the early stages of the tournament, Harvard beat Dartmouth, Amherst and Yale handily. Finally the Crimson once again emerged victorious with a 5-4 win over Princeton in the final round.
Hemenway Gym, the site of all squash home games and practice facilities, does not have courts that meet the width requirements for international competition. Construction of a new athletic facility near Soldiers Field, which will include the desperately needed new squash courts, is scheduled to be completed in time for the 1998-99 season.
Unfortunately for this year's team this meant many trips to Wayland, MA to practice on wider courts when they couldn't use the Business school courts.
"This year was more of a sacrifice [than past years] because more time was involved outside of practice," said Cummings.