PHILADELPHIA – Coming into the 2013-14 season with high expectations, the University of Pennsylvania women’s squash team put together a successful season, blending experienced players with new faces.
The Quakers finished the campaign with an 11-4 overall record, finishing fourth in the nation following the College Squash Association Team Championships in February. Penn also finished 6-1 in the Ivy League for a second-place finish, losing only to eventual national champion Harvard in League play.
At the end of the year, Penn had five individuals named to the CSA’s All-American teams. Freshman Anaka Alankamony and sophomore Yan Xin Tan were named first-team All-American, while senior Courtney Jones, sophomore Haidi Lala, and freshman Michelle Wong were named second-team All-American. The Quakers had the most recipients of All-American honors for the 2013-14 season.
Anaka Alankamony and Yan Xin Tan were also recognized by being named to the 2013-14 Women’s Squash All-Ivy team. Playing in the No. 1 position as a freshman, Alankamony posted a 6-5 overall record and a 4-1 Ivy League record. Being recognized for her play for the second consecutive year, Tan won the 2012-13 Ivy League Rookie of the Year a season ago in addition to being named to the All-Ivy team. This year, Tan was name to the All-Ivy team, with an 8-7 overall record, and 5-2 record in the Ivy League.
The regular season was highlighted by a men’s and women’s program sweep over Princeton, the first time in Penn squash history, both the men’s and women’s teams have defeated the Tigers in the same year. Before the historic sweep, the men’s team last victory against the Tigers had come on Feb. 13, 1974, winning 5-4. The women’s squash team, in its first year of varsity play in 1974, was defeated by Princeton, 10-1 and 9-0 that season, thus making the 2014 season the first Penn sweep of the Tigers in the regular season.
Penn started its regular season 3-0, after defeating Williams and Stanford, 9-0, and George Washington, 8-1, before starting Ivy play. After a 9-0 win at Dartmouth, the Quakers suffered their first defeat of the season, and only Ivy loss at No. 1 Harvard, 6-3.
The following week Penn fell, 6-3, at No. 2 Trinity, before winning its next six-straight contest to close out the regular season. The six wins came against Drexel, the historic Princeton win, a 5-4 decision over Yale, and additional wins versus Brown, at Cornell, and against Columbia.
Finishing the regular season ranked No. 3 in the country, the Quakers won their first match in the CSA Howe Cup before falling to Trinity 6-3, and Yale 5-4, to finish fourth.
After team competition concluded ten members of the team qualified for CSA Individual play, Anaka Alankamony (#4), sophomore Yan Xin Tan (#12), sophomore Haidi Lala (#14), senior co-captain Courtney Jones (#19), freshman Michelle Wong (#23), sophomore Camille Lanier (#27), and sophomore Carey Celata (#32) for the Ramsay Cup, and senior co-captain Chloe Blacker (#38) and Ailsa Agnew (#50) and Leslie Gill in the Holleran Cup.
Tan and Wong advanced to play each other in the Ramsay Cup consolation final, and after dropping the first game 11-6 to Wong, Tan won three straight games 12-10, 11-5, 11-8 to claim the consolation final.
Two Penn players also met in the Holleran Cup semifinals, with Gill squaring off against Blacker. Gill managed to defeat Blacker in four games, winning 12-10, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8. In the Holleran Cup final Gill would face Yale freshman Shiyuan Mao. The Quakers Gill took the first game 12-10, before falling in three games, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6.