After a Feb. 6 loss to Harvard knocked the Penn women’s squash team out of contention for the Ivy title, it looked as though the Quakers would get an opportunity for revenge in the College Squash Association team championship.
But after losing 4-5 to Princeton in last year’s Howe Cup finals match, the Crimson were looking for revenge of their own.
In the end, the No. 1 Crimson proved to be the stronger team, defeating the No. 3 Quakers 6-3 yesterday in the tournament’s final round.
Penn (13-3, 5-1 Ivy) entered the championship tournament in the No. 3 spot behind two teams that had beaten the Red and Blue in the regular season — Harvard and No. 2 Trinity.
In the first round, the Quakers squeezed past Cornell with a 6-3 victory in what turned out to be a much tougher match than anticipated.
“Cornell gave us a real scare,” coach Jack Wyant said. “They came out and played very well, and I think that experience was more than valuable as we headed into the rest of the tournament.”
In the semifinals match, Penn looked to avenge a 5-4 loss to Trinity earlier this season — the Quakers’ first after opening their season with a nine-game winning streak.
This time, however, Penn pulled off a grueling 5-4 victory over the Bantams.
Though the score seems close at first glance, the Quakers clinched the upset through only six matches.
The semifinal match was highlighted by Britt Hebden’s 3-2 victory in the No. 6 spot. The senior battled from behind five points to win the decisive fifth game by a score of 12-10.
“Britt’s match was pretty epic,” Wyant said. “It just showed a lot of toughness and determination for her to overcome such a large deficit.”
The momentum of the first two days, however, was not enough to carry the Quakers to a victory over an undefeated Harvard squad.
A tough loss came in the No. 5 spot, in which freshman Yarden Odinak lost a tough five-game match to Harvard’s Natasha Kingshott whom Wyant said “was not to be denied.”
Junior Annie Madeira provided a highlight for the day, fighting hard for her win even though the outcome of the day had already been decided.
Such a victory, claims Wyant, foreshadows the great things the Quakers will be able to do next year.
“For Annie to pull through, I think that’s something she has done for us for three years now,” Wyant said. “It bodes well as she heads into her senior year when she will most certainly be captain.”
The team’s departing seniors, including Kristin Lange, were unable to nab the illusive Howe Cup during their careers.
But second-ranked Lange will lead a contingent of Quakers to the CSA individual tournament next weekend looking to seize another opportunity at a title.
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