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The Harvard women’s squash team took one more step towards its goal of repeating as national champions this season, as the top-ranked Crimson beat both Yale and Brown this weekend to finish the regular season undefeated and claim sole ownership of the Ivy League title. With the wins, the Harvard women earned their 19th conference title and went unbeaten for the thirteenth time in program history.
After a 7-2 win over Yale (15-3, 5-2 Ivy) ensured the Crimson (12-0, 7-0) at least a share of the trophy, it was Sunday’s match against 10th-ranked Brown (10-7, 0-7) that left Harvard alone at the top of the standings. The Crimson cruised to a 9-0 win over the Bears to clinch the Ivy title in its last match before the national tournament in two weeks.
“It’s a huge deal for me as a senior,” co-captain Natasha Anzik said. “I couldn’t really ask for a better end of the season so far. I know for me and Georgie Brinkley it was actually our last match in college squash today, so it was a bittersweet day for sure, but I couldn’t be happier, and couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to share that with.”
HARVARD 9, BROWN 0
In Sunday’s match against Brown, Harvard was in complete control from the start. The Crimson ran the table against its last opponent of the regular season, dropping only one game in the entire match to earn a commanding 9-0 win.
“Brown is ranked tenth, so they’re a little bit lower down the order, but we wanted to not get too confident,” Anzik said. “Our plan was just to go out and play our squash, because the way we’ve been playing, we can definitely be competitive with any team out there right now. It was just about keeping it simple and staying consistent.”
Junior Amanda Sobhy led the way in the top position, easily dispatching Brown’s Dori Rabhar with scores of 11-4, 11-4, and 11-0. Freshman Katie Tutrone also blew through her match in the second position, as she took down Sarah Domenick in three sets.
“My girl was pretty solid; she was a good player,” Tutrone said. “I had played her as a junior, so it was fun playing her again, but it wasn’t too hard. None of the matches really were, but I was just really happy afterward to have a win because it was the last match of the regular season.”
Sophomores Saumya Karki and Michelle Gemmell also swept their matches in the next two positions. Sophomore Isabelle Dowling and freshmen Dileas MacGowan, Megan Murray, and Caroline Monrad won their matches by scores of 3-0 as well. Harvard’s only dropped game came in the fifth position, as junior Julianne Chu battled back after losing the second set to close out the match with wins in the final two frames.
HARVARD 7, YALE 2
The Crimson started off the weekend with the tougher of its two matches, as it faced No. 4 Yale in the deciding match for at least a share of the Ivy League title. Harvard came away with a 7-2 win, with two of the victories coming in close matches that went to five sets to determine the winner.
“I think it was a great weekend to finish the end of our regular season games,” Anzik said. “We just focused on keeping mental focus, and I think that [the team] used everything they learned all season and really applied all of that to this weekend.”
After Sobhy and Tutrone cruised to easy wins in the first and third positions, respectively, junior Haley Mendez saw Harvard’s first real test of the match in the second spot. The co-captain outlasted Yale’s Kimberly Hay for a 3-2 victory after posting scores of 13-11, 8-11, 11-7, 2-11, and 11-8. Karki came away with another 3-2 victory in the fourth position to give the Crimson the upper hand.
MacGowan, Murray and Chu earned Harvard’s last three wins, while Gemmell and Dowling dropped close decisions in the fifth and eighth positions, respectively. The team now turns their attention to the national tournament in two weeks, where it will enter as the number-one seed.
“Going into nationals is just about continuing to keep doing what we’re doing,” Anzik said. “We’re going to have some very challenging matches during nationals, so everyone has their own specific thing to work on for the next two weeks. We’re all very fit and very happy with where we are right now, so we’re just focusing on getting through the next two weeks.”
—Staff writer Glynis K. Healey can be reached at email@example.com.
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