CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - No. 1 Harvard showed remarkable depth Saturday afternoon against women's squash as the Crimson (8-0, 2-0 Ivy) defeated Penn (2-1, 1-1 Ivy) in a battle of unbeaten Ivy League squads. Pia Trikha and Chloe Blacker were the Quakers' (2-1, 1-1 Ivy) two winners on the day. Before the match, Harvard was given an incredible boost when freshman Amanda Sobhy (No. 1) was deemed eligible to compete by the Ivy League after a review of her amateur status.
In one of the first three matches to hit the court, Blacker got a huge confidence boost when she captured a 14-12 tiebreak in the first game at No. 9. Her opponent would answer back in the second game with an 11-6 victory, but Penn's sophomore would take the third and fourth games, allowing just seven and nine points respectively to improve her individual record to 2-1 this season.
Trikha gave the Quakers their only other win of the day playing at No. 4. The co-captain got a quick start with an 11-2 win in the first game before her opponent tied it up with an 11-9 win in the second. In similar fashion to Blacker, Trikha closed out her victory allowing just seven points in the third game and nine in the fourth to run her record to a perfect 3-0 on the young season. She is now 31-4 in team matches, including the Howe Cup, during her Penn career.
Moving up a spot to No. 3, Yarden Odinak found herself down 1-0 after the first game, but battled back with two tightly contested games in the second and third. She would take the second game in a tiebreak, 14-12, and go up 2-1 with an 11-9 win in the third. However, her opponent took a 12-10 tiebreak in the fourth game and carried that momentum into the fifth game to give Odinak her first loss of the season. Odinak's loss snapped a streak of 13 consecutive regular season victories. She is now 25-2 in regular season play during her collegiate career.
Rachael Goh (No. 2) and Stephanie Vogel (No. 5) each took a game in their matches, but came up on the wrong side of 3-1 finals at those positions. Playing Laura Gemmell, the national champion from two seasons ago and the two-time Ivy League Player of the Year, Goh tied the match at one-all with an 12-10 tiebreak victory in the second game before her opponent, that has dropped just one match in her collegiate career, won the next two games, including a tiebreak victory to clinch the fourth game. Vogel jumped out early with an 11-8 win in her first game before her opponent won the final three games.
At No 6., No. 7, and No. 8, Penn's three players all suffered their first defeats of the season. Courtney Jones, along with freshmen Colleen Fehm and Leslie Gill all came into the match with unblemished records; however, each were dealt their first losses of the season.
Bumping the former national champion and returning Ivy League Player of the Year Gemmell down to No. 2 was the debut of Harvard's freshman Amanda Sobhy. Sobhy, who was a junior national champion and is currently ranked No. 1 in the United States and in the top-20 internationally, showed her impressive skill set against Penn's co-captain Nabilla Ariffin.
After dropping its first match of the season as a team, there will be little time to regroup as Penn now buses to Dartmouth to get ready for another top-tier team as No. 8 Dartmouth awaits the Quakers. That match will get underway at the newly scheduled noon start time.
Harvard 7, Penn 2
No. 1: Amanda Sobhy (H) def. Nabilla Ariffin (P) (3-0), 11-5, 11-1, 11-0
No. 2: Laura Gemmell (H) def. Rachael Goh (P) (3-1), 11-3, 10-12, 11-6, 13-11
No. 3: Nirasha Guruge (H) def. Yarden Odinak (P) (3-2), 11-2, 12-14, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6
No. 4: Pia Trikha (P) def. Haley Mendez (H) (3-1), 11-2, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9
No. 5: Natasha Kingshott (H) def. Stephanie Vogel (P) (3-1), 8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-5
No. 6: Cecelia Cortes (H) def. Courtney Jones (P) (3-0), 11-5, 11-5, 11-8
No. 7: Sarah Mumanachit (H) def. Colleen Fehm (P) (3-0), 11-3, 11-8, 11-7
No. 8: Julianne Chu (H) def. Leslie Gill (P) (3-0) 11-5, 11-8, 11-7
No. 9: Chloe Blacker (P) def. Eliza Calihan (H) (3-1), 14-12, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9
No. 10: Megan Murray (H) def. Hyland Murphy (P) (3-0) 11-7, 11-9, 11-8