CAMBRIDGE, Mass - Looking to make a statement in its final team match of the season, women's squash dominated Cornell, 7-2, finishing in fifth place at the Howe Cup. The Quakers will now finish as a top-five team in the country for the seventh year in a row. Five of Penn's seven victories came in 3-0 sweeps as the Quakers jumped all over the Big Red early. Cornell took just two games in the first six matches before capturing its only two victories after Penn had clinched the match.
In addition to the team's accomplishments, it was also a day for individual achievements as well. Juniors Pia Trikha and Yarden Odinak solidified their 40th career victories at Penn with three-game wins. Odinak went a perfect 3-0 this weekend for her 40th win in just 49 career matches. Trikha achieved this milestone in just 47 matches. In addition to Odinak, Rachael Goh (No. 2) and Chloe Blacker (No. 8) each capped perfect 3-0 weekends at the Howe Cup with three-game victories.
With her personal milestone within striking distance, Trikha came out strong to set the tone for Penn. She went up a game with an 11-8 victory in the first and then took a commanding lead with an 11-1 victory in the second game. She closed out her milestone victory with another 11-8 win in the final game to put the Quakers up early.
Stephanie Vogel, No. 6, and Colleen Fehm, No. 9, would give Penn a clean sweep in the first wave of matches with each winning in four games. Vogel took a 2-0 lead with 11-6 and 11-5 wins. After dropping the third game, Vogel closed with another strong 11-5 game in the fourth for her 10th victory of the year. Fehm split the first two games, but came back to win the tiebreak, 12-10, in the third game and closed out her win with an identical score to the first game, 11-8. She also has 10 victories this season.
Goh capped off her perfect weekend at No. 2 with her straight game victory. Like so many others all day long, Goh jumped out early with 11-7 and 11-6 wins in the first two games. She would have to go extra points to clinch her match, but would do so in the third game, 13-11. She finished the team portion of the season with a 9-3 record overall and allowed just one game the entire Howe Cup weekend.
Sophomores Courtney Jones and Blacker added two more wins at their positions to give Penn six victories in six matches, clinching fifth place. Jones secured an 11-8 win in the first game and allowed just nine points the rest of the way for her 10th victory this season. Blacker played three tight games, but like so many matches before this, she did not drop one on the way to her 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 win. She did not drop a game at the Howe Cup and has not done so in her last five matches. Nine of her 11 victories have come in straight game fashion.
With the match easily in hand, Nabilla Ariffin and Leslie Gill would each drop hard-fought matches at the No. 1 and No. 7 positions, conceding the Big Red's only two wins of the day. Ariffin went up early with an 11-9 win in the first game, but dropped a tiebreak second game, 12-10. Her opponent then used that momentum in the four-game match at No. 1. Gill held 1-0 and 2-1 leads after the first and third games, but her opponent responded each time to even the match before taking the decisive game in extra points, 13-11.
After starting with a milestone win, the Quakers also closed with one as Odinak took a straight game win at No. 4. Her victory did not come easy as she took both the first and second games in extra points by the identical 12-10 score to go up 2-0. In the third, she closed with her most convincing game, 11-7. Like Blacker, Odinak did not drop a game in the Howe Cup and has not done so in any of her last seven matches, dating back to the Stanford match. She finishes the team portion of the season with a team-best 12 wins so far, winning 10 of those matches in straight games.
With the team schedule now behind them, the women's squad, along with the men's team, will now turn its attention to the CSA Individual Championships next weekend. Last season, the women's team claimed five All-American spots, the best of any team in the nation. The individual championships will get underway Friday, March 2 and continue through Sunday, March 4.
Penn 7, Cornell 2
No. 1: Danielle Letourneau (C) def. Nabilla Ariffin (P) (3-1), 9-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-6
No. 2: Rachael Goh (P) def. Jaime Laird (C) (3-0), 11-7, 11-6, 13-11
No. 3: Pia Trikha (P) def. Jessenia Pacheco (C) (3-0), 11-8, 11-1, 11-8
No. 4: Yarden Odinak (P) def. Maggie Remsen (C) (3-0), 12-10, 12-10, 11-7
No. 5: Courtney Jones (P) def. Rachel Au (C) (3-0), 11-8, 11-4, 11-5
No. 6: Stephanie Vogel (P) def. Clare Berner (C) (3-1), 11-6, 11-5, 7-11, 11-5
No. 7: Lauren Sachvie (C) def. Leslie Gill (P) (3-2), 8-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 13-11
No. 8: Chloe Blacker (P) def. Jacqueline Wagner (C) (3-0), 11-9, 11-9, 11-7
No. 9: Colleen Fehm (P) def. Laura Caty (C) (3-1), 11-8, 10-12, 12-10, 11-8
No. 10: Lindsay Wong (P) def. Sofia Thierry (C) (3-1), 6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-6