The No. 1 Harvard women’s squash team (7-0, 4-0 Ivy League) was in a New York state of mind this weekend. It rounded out its road stint with back to back wins against Ivy League rivals, defeating No. 7 Columbia (4-4, 2-2) on Saturday and No. 8 Cornell (6-5, 2-3) on Sunday.
HARVARD 9, No. 8 CORNELL 0
Cornell, just coming off an Ivy League win against Dartmouth, was preparing to host Harvard at the Belkin International Squash Courts in Ithaca, NY on Sunday. With the home court advantage and facing a team that had just faced a tough Columbia team on top of five hours of travel, it seemed that The Big Red had the advantage over the Crimson.
For the visitors, the freshmen continued to dominate the courts, with Sabrina Sobhy, Kayley Leonard, and Sophie Mehta all recorded wins for the Crimson. Sobhy easily handled Michèle Garceau in the first position, 11-8, 11-2, 11-6.
Leonard had the longest match of the day, with four games against Cornell’s Rachel Scherman at the No. 2 position. It seemed like it would be a battle after the first two games were won by each player by 3 points or less.
In the last position, Mehta made quick work of the Big Red’s Sydney Francis, giving up just five points overall in the match.
Sophomore Alyssa Mehta ended the weekend with two wins, after she defeated Margaux Losty. Fellow sophomore Sue Ann Yong had the second quickest win of the day, defeating her opponent 11-3, 11-5, 11-5.
Junior Katie Tutrone, senior Michelle Gemmell, and junior Dileas MacGowan also recorded sweeps against their opponents.
Co-captain Saumya Karki extended her win streak with a win at the No. 7 position against Lauren Leizman. Co-captain Isabelle Dowling also won in an exhibition match against Olivia Wherry, 11-3, 11-5, 11-7.
HARVARD 9, COLUMBIA 0
The Crimson picked up its fourth sweep of the year with its 9-0 win over the Lions at the SL Green StreetSquash Center in New York, N.Y.
Sobhy and Leonard, and Mehta all swept their opponents. While Leonard and Mehta made quick work of their opponents at the second and third positions, respectively, Sobhy battled it out with Columbia’s No. 1 player Tanyi Khanna in the No. 1 spot, winning two of her three games by just two points.
Senior Michelle Gemmell had the longest match of the day in the No. 5 spot, playing four games against one of the Lions’ top three players, Catherine Jenkins. After losing the first game 5-13, Gemmell rebounded with two straight 11-3 wins. A last-minute effort by Jenkins forced the final game to be played to over 11 points, but Gemmell never lost momentum and won 12-10.
To round out the second flight, both junior Katherine Tutrone and Yong made quick work of their Columbia counterparts in 3-0 sweeps. This is Yong’s first win at the No. 6 position.
The last flight, like the first, were sweeps, with Karki and freshman Sophie Mehta remained undefeated with their sixth win of the season. Junior Dileas MacGowan defeated Addie Fulton at the No. 8 spot.
This win also marked its second straight against an Ivy League team, and its fifth against Columbia to extend its win streak to 5-0.
“Leading up to nationals we are trying to keep our fitness level high,” Mehta said. “We are also working on the mental components of our games so that we are able to perform in high pressure situations.”
—Staff writer Katherine H. Scott can be reached at email@example.com
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