February 26, 2012

No. 2 Yale Falls in National Championship to No. 1 Harvard 8-1

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Sunday, the No. 2 Yale women's squash team fell 8-1 at the hands of No. 1 Harvard. 

This match was the fourth consecutive time Harvard and Yale have gone head to head with something significant on the line.  Last season, the teams met in regular season finale with the Ivy League title at stake, a 5-4 Yale victory, and later in the national championship, another 5-4 win for the Bulldogs.  This year, the teams met again in the final match of the regular season, and both teams were undefeated coming in.  That was a 5-4 victory for Harvard.  Sunday's faceoff was for the national championship, but unfortunately for Yale the match was not as close as the three previous showdowns. 

In the first round of games, Harvard went up 2-1.  At No. 3, No. 5 ranked Nirasha Guruge won in three games over No. 33 Yale senior captain Rhetta Nadas.  The match at No. 6 was between sophomore Gwen Tilghman, ranked No. 46, and No. 20 Natasha Kingshott.  Kingshott won the first game 11-9, but the second was something to behold, as neither player would concede until Kingshott was finally able to get the victory after playing more than 35 points, 19-17. Kingshott took the third game 11-6 to win the match.  The lone victory for Yale came at No. 9, where freshman Issey Norman-Ross wrapped up a strong first season for the Bulldogs with an 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 win over Megan Murray.

Harvard's third win came from Laura Gemmell at No. 2.  Gemmell, the nation's No. 2 ranked player, avenged her loss in the regular season finale to No. 15 ranked sophomore Kim Hay with an 11-9, 11-9, 15-13 victory.  At No. 8, sophomore Lilly Fast was faced off against Julianne Chu, who she beat in the regular season matchup in a five-set nail-biter.  This time, though, Chu came out on top, winning in four after dropping the third game 11-5 to Fast.  With Harvard on the verge of clinching the national championship, No. 47 ranked junior Katie Ballaine attempted to stem the tide against No. 18 Cece Cortes.  Ballaine took the first game 11-7, but from there Cortes was too much, winning the next three games 11-7, 11-4, 11-1 to give Harvard the Howe Cup trophy. 

With the match already over, there were still three matches to play.  At No. 1, sophomore Millie Tomlinson fell to Amanda Sobhy in three sets. Sobhy was the world junior champion in 2010, and has not come close to losing a match in college.  In the fourth spot, senior Alexandra van Arkel lost in three to Haley Mendez, and finally freshman Shihui Mao was swept by No. 30 Sarah Mumanachit. 

The Bulldogs finished the season 17-2, with those two losses coming at the hands of Harvard.  Although the team season is over, individual play will continue next week at the CSA Individual Championships, where Tomlinson will attempt to defend her title.

 
  Harvard University Rating Yale University Rating Winner's Score Winner Code
1WS Sobhy,Amanda 0.000 Tomlinson,Millie 0.000 11-1,11-3,11-1 Harvard University C
2WS Gemmell,Laura C 0.000 Hay,Kimberley 0.000 11-9,11-9,15-13 Harvard University C
3WS Guruge,Nirasha 0.000 Nadas,Rhetta N 0.000 11-5,11-2,11-9 Harvard University C
4WS Mendez,Haley 0.000 Van Arkel,Alexandra 0.000 11-8,11-9,11-4 Harvard University C
5WS Cortes,Cecelia 0.000 Ballaine,Katie W 0.000 7-11,11-7,11-4,11-1 Harvard University C
6WS Kingshott,Natasha 0.000 Tilghman,Gwendoline C 0.000 11-9,19-17,11-6 Harvard University C
7WS Mumanachit,Sarah 0.000 Mao,Shihui 0.000 11-6,11-3,11-7 Harvard University C
8WS Chu,Julianne L. 0.000 Fast,Lillian A. 0.000 11-5,11-9,5-11,11-6 Harvard University C
9WS Murray,Megan A. 0.000 Norman-Ross,Issey 0.000 11-7,11-5,11-9 Yale University C
10WS Calihan,Eliza M 0.000 Kerr,Aly 0.000 11-8,11-6,13-11 Yale University C
 

Report by Calvin Bohn '14, Yale Sports Publicity

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