W. Squash Fourth at Howe Cup

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The No. 4 Harvard women’s squash team validated its ranking at the Howe Cup—women’s squash’s national championship tournament—at Yale this weekend, beating No. 5 Penn 6-3 in the quarterfinals before falling to No. 1 Yale by the same score in Saturday’s semifinals and No. 3 Princeton 5-4 in yesterday’s 3-4 playoff.

Freshman intercollegiate No. 19 Lydia Williams went 3-0 playing at No. 4 for the Crimson, despite each match lasting the full five games.

“She played out of her mind all three matches,” co-captain Louisa Hall said. “She was a star all weekend.”

Yale beat No. 2 Trinity 5-4 in the finals to take the national crown.

YALE 6, HARVARD 3

A week after falling 7-2 to the Bulldogs in the teams’ regular-season matchup, the Crimson lost again, but improved by an individual match as Williams and sophomore intercollegiate No. 25 Moira Weigel reprised their five-game victories with two more 3-2 wins and sophomore Alli son Fast won by default at No. 7 after her opponent, Lauren Doline, was forced to retire when she tripped over Fast and fell into the wall, injuring her knee.

Weigel, playing at No. 5, came from two games down and saved four match balls in the fourth game to win 4-9, 4-9, 9-5, 10-9, 9-7.

“I did a much better job hitting deep, hitting to the corners [later in the match],” Weigel said.

“We’ve come to expect anything out of Moira,” Hall said. “She’s such a fighter.”

Williams recovered from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to win 7-9, 9-7, 4-9, 9-3, 9-6.

“Her drop shot was on,” junior Stephanie Hendricks said. “She was being very smart. She knew what to do with the ball. She was getting to everything and just putting it where she wanted and making her opponent run. She was playing great squash.”

At No. 1, Hall, the intercollegiate No. 4, fell to top-ranked Michelle Quibell in three games. Hall took a 5-3 lead in the first game, but Quibell roared back to take the next six points and the game.

Hall then led 8-4 in the second game, but twice caught the top of the tin as Quibell pulled to 8-7. Quibell hit a drop shot off Hall’s crosscourt return on the next point to tie the game and then won it with a pair of strokes.

Quibell cruised in third game, even laughing after missing the ball completely on one point and taking the game 9-1.

“I just kind of ran out of steam,” Hall said. “I was just exhausted.”

Junior intercollegiate No. 9 Lindsey Wilkins fell to lefty No. 5 Amy Gross at No. 2 in a match refereed by Yale freshman Catherine McLeod. Gross took a marathon first game—which featured separate stretches of three, four and five consecutive lets—9-4.

“[Gross] is a really hard girl to play against because she calls a lot of unnecessary lets,” Hall said. “There were a lot of questionable calls and that’s a hard thing to play through.”

Wilkins, who fell 3-0 to Gross during the regular season, came back to win the second game 9-4, but was blanked in the third.

PRINCETON 5, HARVARD 4

The Crimson was unable to avenge its Feb. 8 5-4 loss to the Tigers, which snapped Harvard’s four-year Ivy winning streak, again falling 5-4.

Hendricks beat intercollegiate No. 36 Franny McKay 2-9, 9-6, 9-3, 10-9 at No. 8 two weeks after falling to her.

After dropping the first game, Hendricks removed the brace on her ankle—which will require offseason surgery to fix a ligament—and proceeded to win the next three games and the match.

“I decided that either playing better or blowing out my ankle was better than playing bad,” Hendricks said.

Since the Crimson’s top four players won against Princeton during the regular season, Hendricks assumed her turnaround might give Harvard the victory.

But Wilkins dropped a five-game match 9-4, 3-9, 9-7, 8-10, 9-2 to intercollegiate No. 15 Ali Pearson at No. 2 while the results from the other matches remained the same.

Williams needed five games to recover from a 2-0 deficit and beat Patricia Gadsden 8-10, 6-9, 9-1, 9-4, 9-3 after having dispatched her in four games during the regular season.

“I just started off really tired and lethargic because of playing so many games in so little time,” Williams said.

HARVARD 6, PENN 3

The Crimson opened the tournament with a 6-3 quarterfinal victory over the Quakers on Friday afternoon.

Williams avenged her regular-season, three-game defeat at the hands of intercollegiate No. 23 Radhika Ahluwalia with a 9-1, 1-9, 6-9, 9-4, 9-4 victory.

Freshman intercollegiate No. 12 Audrey Duboc cruised to a 9-3, 9-6, 9-5 win over No. 22 Dafna Wegner at No. 3.

Harvard got wins from its top four players as well as junior co-captain Hilary Thorndike and intercollegiate No. 57 Fast at No. 6 and No. 7, respectively.

—Staff writer Alan G. Ginsberg can be reached at aginsber@fas.harvard.edu.

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