Cambridge, Mass. - The visiting Trinity College Bantams fell, 7-2, against the Harvard University Crimson in the 2015 College Squash Association (CSA) National Team Championship (Howe Cup) Finals this afternoon at Barnaby Courts. Trinity, the defending Howe Cup Champions, completes team competition with a 17-2 record, with both losses coming on the road against the Crimson, while Harvard ends up at 13-1. Trinity and Harvard have faced each other in the last three Howe Cup Finals, as Harvard won, 5-4, at Yale in 2013, and Trinity won, 5-4, at Princeton last February.
The first completed match was a 3-1 victory by Harvard junior Saumya Karki (Thane, India) at the No. 6 position. Karki and Trinity first-year Salma El Defrawy (Cairo, Egypt) split the first two games before Karki took the third, 11-3, and edged El Defrawy, 11-9, in the fourth. Harvard took a 2-0 lead when freshman Alyssa Mehta (Toronto, Ontario) earned a 3-1 win at the No. 3 spot. Trinity sophomore Anna Kimberley (Colchester, England) clawed back from a 2-0 deficit with a 12-10 win in the third game, but Mehta outlasted Kimberley, 11-9, in the fourth game. Bantam junor Sachika Balvani (Mumbai, India) salvaged the first wave with a gritty 3-2 win at the No. 9 spot. Balvani won the second (11-9) and third (11-4) games, lost the fourth, 11-8, and returned the favor with an 11-8 triumph in game five.
Harvard took a commanding lead with a pair of 3-0 victories in a row, as freshman Sue Ann Yong (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) won at No. 5 and senior Julianne Chu (New York, N.Y.) won at No. 8. Bantam senior tri-captain Ashley Tidman (Lamor-Plage, France) suffered a 13-11 setback in the first game against Yong who took control with convincing wins in game two and game three. Trinity rookie Karolina Holinkova (Krnov, Czech Republic) played three close games against Chu, including a 12-10 loss in the third.
Raneem Sharaf (Giza, Egypt), another of the four first-years in the Trinity lineup, kept the Bantams alive with a 3-1 win in the No. 2 match, but junior Michelle Gemmell (Toronto, Ontario) slipped past Bantam freshman Julia LeCoq (Creteil, France) in the fourth position, 11-9, 11-3, 11-13, 13-11 to clinch the decision for Harvard. Senior Amanda Sobhy (Sea Cliff, N.Y.), the nation's best collegiate player the last four years, and sophomore Dileas McGowan (Toronto, Ontario) posted late Crimson wins to account for the 7-2 final tally.
"The team really fought as hard as it could, but Harvard was just too good today," said Trinity Head Coach Wendy Bartlett. "We did all we could. Knees and knuckles were bloody. The whole weekend was very intense and the girls played super. We have many young players on this team, and once they can think about this and learn from it, we should come back even stronger next year."
1. H- Amanda Sobhy d. Kanzy El Defrawy, 11-7, 1124, 11-7
2. TC- Raneem Sharaf d. Katie Tutrone, 12-10, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9
3. H- Alyssa Mehta d. Anna Kimberley, 11-6, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9
4. H- Michelle Gemmell d. Julia LeCoq, 11-9, 11-3, 11-13, 13-11
5. H- Sue Ann Yong d. Ashley Tidman, 13-11, 11-5, 11-4
6. H- Saumya Karki d. Salma El Defrawy, 11-5, 4-11, 11-3, 11-9
7. H- Dileas McGowan d. Natalie Babjukova, 11-6, 6-11, 13-11, 12-10
8. H- Julianne Chu d. Karolina Holinkova, 11-8, 11-7, 12-10
9. TC- Sachika Balvani d. Isabelle Dowling, 5-11, 11-9, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8
Harvard 7, Trinity (Conn.) 2