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Women’s Squash Sweeps Empire State Road Trip

Battling back pain, junior Laura Gemmell, shown here in previous action, still managed to win both of her weekend contests playing at the No. 2 spot. The former national champion remains perfect on the year.
Battling back pain, junior Laura Gemmell, shown here in previous action, still managed to win both of her weekend contests playing at the No. 2 spot. The former national champion remains perfect on the year.
By Shayna Price, Contributing Writer

The Harvard women’s squash team steamrolled through New York this past weekend, as all nine members of the squad had perfect weekends against Ivy rivals Columbia and Cornell.

“We’ve had two weeks off, and we’ve been training really hard, so it was good to get back on court and play some opponents,” co-captain Cece Cortes said.

With its undefeated record, the No. 1 Crimson (12-0, 5-0 Ivy), has a strong shot of capturing the conference title.

“Obviously we have our eye on the prize, on winning the Ivy League title,” junior Natasha Kingshott said.  “We take each match at a time, [and] we can’t look too far ahead. But we are feeling good, and everything is coming together for the pinnacle of our season.”

HARVARD 9, CORNELL 0

In continuing its long road trip through New York, Harvard played No. 7 Cornell (9-3, 2-1 Ivy) on Sunday afternoon in Ithaca.

The Crimson defeated the Big Red, 9-0, capping off a perfect 18-0 weekend for Harvard in its Ancient Eight play.

“We won 9-0, but that doesn’t really reflect how we played. There were some really tight matches,” Cortes said.

No. 5 Kingshott dropped her first game 11-9, but came back to take the matchup by winning her next three games.

Junior Laura Gemmell had a tough matchup against Cornell’s Jaime Laird, as she found herself tied at one game apiece. But the junior took control in the following two games and went on to a 3-1 victory.

“Laura Gemmell has been battling an injury, and in her match today against Cornell, she played incredibly well and toughed it out,” Kingshott said. “We all respect her so much.”

Gemmell insists that her back injury is something she has been able to manage for the last couple of months.

“I’ve had back pain for a while, and I’m taking care of it,” Gemmell said. “I don’t think it really affected me in my match.”

Like her team’s overall record, Gemmell is also individually undefeated so far this season.

“I just take it one match at a time,” Gemmel said. “I don’t really think about that I’m undefeated.”

Freshman No 1. Amanda Sobhy easily swept her matchup, 11-5, 11-4, 11-5, for the 3-0 victory.

“Amanda is such a beautiful payer to watch. She is an inspiration to us all,” Kingshott said of her teammate.

The Crimson has never lost to Cornell, and Sunday’s victory ran the all-time record to 18-0.

Harvard will face stiffer competition next weekend, as it faces No. 10 Brown and No. 2 in what is expected to be the de facto Ivy League championship.

“Everyone is very pleased with how we’ve been playing and all our hard work has been paying off,” Kingshott said.  “We’re excited to keep it going.”

HARVARD 9, COLUMBIA 0

In the first matchup of the weekend against Columbia on Friday in New York, N.Y., all but one of the Crimson’s players captured 3-0 matches.

This is the first year that the Lions have had a varsity squash team, but even though Columbia might not be the most experienced team, the Crimson made sure not to look past them.

“We always have the upmost respect for our opponents,” Kingshott said. “You can never underestimate your opponents.... Obviously, we’re going to be the target, and so we need to take that in stride and be confident in our ability.”

Despite handily beating the Lions, Harvard is excited to add another opponent to its league.

“It’s so great to have more teams to play,” Cortes said. “They put up a good fight. They’re a really new team, but we definitely had to battle.”

Playing in the top three spots for Harvard, Sobhy, Gemmell, and co-captain Nirasha Guruge all swept their Lion counterparts, winning, 3-0.

Freshman Haley Mendez was the first Harvard player to reach 10 wins this season for the Crimson in her 3-1 win over Katie Quan.

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Women's Squash