For the first time since 2003, Harvard women’s squash is a back-to-back Ivy League champion.
The result emerged from a busy weekend in which the team played three days in a row. After a quick away contest at Brown (5-5, 0-5 Ivy League), the No. 1 Crimson hosted Stanford and Yale at home.
The clash with the Cardinal (4-6) marked the second matchup this season, which was the first time that the two teams had played a home-and-home series. Meanwhile, the Sunday date with the Bulldogs (11-4, 4-3) gave Harvard a chance to clinch the crown with a win.
Ultimately, there was little suspense. The top-ranked Crimson (12-0, 7-0) breezed through a trio of sweeps and glided its way to a second straight crown.
Despite the team’s long string of dominance, it had not won the Ivy League crown twice in a row since 2003. This time, Harvard used the weekend as preparation for College Squash Association (CSA) National Team championship coming in two weeks, getting a final preview of possible opponents and gaining experience dealing with a demanding cluster of games.
But arguably the most important item on the agenda was the celebration of the final home games for the four seniors on the team, including co-captains Dileas MacGowan and Caroline Monrad, along with Keegan Mendez and Katie Tutrone.
“The team did really well this weekend, especially because it was the last matches of the season for the seniors,” freshman Gina Kennedy said. “So everyone was really pumped to play for them and help make sure they were sent off on a fine note. The seniors are a big part of the team, so it’s going to be really weird without them.”
HARVARD 9, YALE 0
With the Ancient Eight championship at stake, the Harvard underclassmen did their best to drain any drama from the final home match for the team’s seniors. Collectively, the youngsters did not drop a game and decided the contest early on Sunday afternoon.
With no pressure to perform for the team, the seniors were simply playing for pride and channeling their emotions into one last match on home court.
“They’ve definitely like sisters to me—people that I always know will be there,” Tutrone added. “One of the other seniors is like my closest friend, my roommate.”
MacGowan and Tutrone easily dispatched their opponents, while Monrad dropped the second game by a wide margin before recovering her form and winning in four. The most intense match of the competition came at the end, as Mendez dropped her first set.
But in this final pairing against the Bulldogs, the veteran rallied when the entire home contingent migrated to cheer. Mendez proceeded to take the match in four games over Yale junior Ashley Suan, thriving off the support from spectators and teammates alike. Exiting the squash court, Mendez, like every other victorious senior, received appreciative rounds of applause to end the afternoon of play.
For the past four years, the classmates have played together, and yesterday they won together.
“It’s a social scene a little bit, like people I would hang out with, not just in squash but also outside,” Tutrone said. “We’re all pretty close. We all have pretty similar intentions in life.”
Women's Squash Downs Stanford, 8-1The No. 1 Harvard women’s squash team brought the excitement and energy to the Murr Center in its season opener, defeating No. 9 Stanford, 8-1, for the 11th-straight time at the Boston Round-Robins.
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Women's Squash Remains Undefeated After Victory at StanfordDespite the strong start, the Crimson did not allow itself to let up against its foe from the West Coast. The two dropped sets by No. 7 Sophie Mehta and No. 9 MacGowan both went into tiebreakers. Other than those blemishes, Harvard came up with a thorough victory, up and down the lineup card.
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