Cambridge, Mass. - The Trinity College Bantams fell, 9-0, against the Harvard University Crimson in the 2018 College Squash Association (CSA) National Team Championship (Howe Cup) Finals this afternoon at the Murr Squash Center in Cambridge. Trinity, returning to the National Championship match for the first time since the 2014-15 season, completes team competition with a 15-3 record, with two of its three losses coming against the Crimson. Harvard capped off a perfect, 15-0 season, bringing home its fourth consecutive national championship in the process. Harvard's seventh title in the past nine seasons is its 18th overall – the most of any program in the country.
"It was a very tough match today. Harvard is a very strong team," said Trinity Head Coach Wendy Bartlett (34th season). "Each player played well but their Harvard opponents just always had the edge. They had an answer for everything today."
Harvard jumped out to a commanding, 3-0 lead after the first wave. Crimson co-captain Sue Ann Yong (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) claimed the first point for the Crimson, defeating Bantam sophomore Lakeesha Rarere (Hastings, New Zealand) in straight games at No. 6. Moments later, Hannah Craig (Belfast, Northern Ireland) completed a sweep of Trinity senior tri-captain Karolina Holinkova (Krnov, Czech Republic) to put Harvard up, 2-0. Fellow Bantam tri-captain Julia LeCoq (Creteil, France) battled at No. 3, but ultimately fell, 4-1. Le Coq went down 2-0 after the first two games before grinding out an 11-9 triumph in the third game. Le Coq and her counterpart, Kayley Leonard (Harrison, N.Y.), went back-and-forth in the fourth game before Leonard scored consecutive points to come away with a 13-11 win to clinch the bout.
The second pairings saw closer bouts but Harvard came out on the right side of another wave sweep to clinch the title. Sophie Mehta (Toronto, Ontario) jumped out to a 2-0 lead at No. 8, but Bantam rookie Akanksa Salunkhe (Vasco De Gama, India) stayed alive with an 11-4 win in game three. The two did battle in the fourth game, but Mehta came away with an 11-9 triumph to take the individual match. Trinity sophomore Vanessa Raj (Penang, Malaysia) opened the No. 5 bout with an 11-7 victory, but Harvard sophomore Amelia Henley (Kent, United Kingdom) stormed back with three straight wins to clinch the overall match for Harvard, seconds ahead of Sabrina Sobhy (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) completing a sweep at No. 2.
With the title in hand, Harvard completed the sweep in the final round. At No. 7, junior Jenny Haley (Caldicot, Wales) proved to be a tough match for her counterpart, Eleonore Evans (Baltimore, Md.), but Evans won three, two-point games to pick up the Crimson's seventh point with a 3-1 decision. Alyssa Mehta (Toronto, Ontario) defeated Trinity first-year Min Jie Teh (Klang, Malaysia) at No. 4 before Gina Kennedy (Beckenham, United Kingdom) swept at No. 1 to cap off the Crimson's victory.
1. H – Gina Kennedy d. Raneem Sharaf, 11-6, 14-12, 11-8
2. H – Sabrina Sobhy d. Salma Alam El Din, 11-6, 11-5, 11-5
3. H – Kayley Leonard d. Julia LeCoq, 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11
4. H – Alyssa Mehta d. Min Jie Teh, 11-7, 5-11, 11-3, 11-5
5. H – Amelia Henley d. Vanessa Raj, 7-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-4
6. H – Sue Ann Yong d. Lakeesha Rarere, 11-6, 11-3, 11-3
7. H – Eleonore Evans d. Jenny Haley, 11-9, 11-3, 9-11, 11-9
8. H – Sophie Mehta d. Akanksha Salunkhe, 11-5, 11-8, 4-11, 11-9
9. H – Hannah Craig d. Karolina Holinkova, 13-11, 11-7, 11-4
Harvard 9, Trinity (Conn.) 0