Hartford, Conn. – The Trinity College women's squash team had another successful season in 2017-18, returning to the College Squash Association (CSA) National Team Championships for the first time since 2014-15 and finishing as the second-best team in the country. At the Howe Cup, the third-seeded Bantams topped No. 6 Columbia University and No. 2 Princeton with a loss to No. 1-seed Harvard to finish second.
Trinity, coached by Wendy Bartlett (34th season), finished the year with a 15-3 record and captured its 12th-straight New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship. The Bantams reeled off five consecutive wins to open the season before falling, 5-4, at Princeton on December 11, who they would later best in the Howe Cup semifinals. The squad went on to win their last ten-of-twelve matches to close out the regular season.
The Bantams put together a perfect fall semester, winning all four of its matches between November 18 and December 8. During the stretch, Trinity won over George Washington University, Drexel, and NESCAC opponents Wesleyan and Williams. The Bantams opened up the season with an 8-1 victory at George Washington University before blanking No. 9 Drexel, 9-0, in a match where six Bantams earned clean sweeps of their opponents, and senior tri-captain Karolina Holinkova (Krnov, Czech Republic) allowed just nine points to her opponent. Trinity's win-streak ended at the hands of No. 3-ranked Princeton in a match that came down to the final wave.
Despite the setback, the Bantams rattled off another win-streak of six-straight to improve to 13-2 overall. The Bantams downed in-state rival Yale, 8-1, highlighted by sophomore Salma Alam El Din (Cairo, Egypt) who won 3-0 at the No. 2 spot to earn the match-clinching fifth point. Trinity went on to beat No. 5 Stanford before heading into the NESCAC tournament where the Bantams triumphed over both Hamilton and Amherst before defeating Williams to win their 12th consecutive NESCAC Championship. The Bantams finished the season with wins in the quarter and semifinals of the Howe Cup, blanking Columbia 9-0 in the quarterfinals and downing Princeton, 6-3, in semifinals, before falling to No. 1 Harvard in the championship match.
At the CSA National Singles Championships, sophomore Vanessa Raj (Penang, Malaysia) came away with a hard-fought, five-game victory in the finals of the Holleran East Bracket. In other Holleran bracket action, Bantam while junior Jenny Haley (Newport, Wales) went 1-1 while senior tri-captain Raneem Sharaf (Cairo, Egypt) won her opening round match to reach the Ramsay Trophy Bracket quarterfinals.
It was another accolade-filled season for the Bantams. Trinity College first-year Min Jie Teh (Klang, Malaysia) was named the 2017-18 NESCAC Women's Squash Rookie of the Year, and joined Raj on the All-NESCAC second team. Three other Bantams garnered first team honors, making Trinity the most represented team in the conference awards once again. Senior tri-captain Julia LeCoq (Creteil, France), Sharaf and El Din all graced the All-NESCAC first team as well. The Bantams also laid claim to five CSA All-Americans as Sharaf earned First Team honors for the third time in her career, while Raj, Teh, Le Coq and El Din were eached named to the Second Team.
Teh finished the season as the team leader in wins and second in winning percentage. She is the seventh Trinity player to earn NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors, joining Nayelly Hernandez (2008), Nour Bahgat (2009), Catalina Pelaez (2011), Kanzy El Defrawy (2013), Anna Kimberley (2014), and Raj (2017). LeCoq finished her final season with a 15-6 record while playing in the top third of the Trinity lineup. In her fine career, LeCoq was 61-16 and became just the eighth Bantam to accumulate 60 victories. Sharaf posted a 14-6 record this winter, playing at the top of the Bantam lineup and is one of four players to rack up All-NESCAC First Team honors for all four years of her career. Sharaf also was named a finalist for this year's CSA Betty Richey Award, given annually to the player who best exemplifies the ideals of squash in her love of and devotion to the game, her strong sense of fairness, and her excellence of play and leadership. She is also a four-time CSA All-American and finished last season ranked as the No. 5 player in the nation.
Coach Bartlett was selected as the NESCAC Coach of the Year by her peers, her fourth Coach of the Year honors in six years (2012-13, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2017-18) after guiding the Bantams to three Howe Cup crowns and compiling a 406-109 career record during her time in Hartford.
Haley and El Din earned NESCAC All-Academic honors thanks to their hard work in the classroom this year while Sharaf was named to the NESCAC All-Sportsmanship team due to her positive contributions to the sport.
The senior class of Holinkova, LeCoq and Sharaf finished their Trinity squash careers this winter, having helped the team compile an impressive 61-13 record during their tenure. In four seasons together, they won four NESCAC Championships and appeared in two Howe Cup Finals.