CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The top-ranked Penn women's squash team remained undefeated on Saturday, defeating No. 3 Harvard, 5-4. Sophomore Britt Hebden won the clinching match with the score tied 4-4 in order to give Penn the victory. Penn (12-0) now finds itself guaranteed of at least a share of the Ivy League title, and a win Sunday at Dartmouth away from taking the Ivy title outright.
Penn got off to a strong start when freshman Annie Madeira claimed a 3-1 victory at No. 6 (9-3, 6-9, 9-2, 9-4). Madeira and much of the lower end of Penn's ladder was playing a spot above normal with the absence of regular No. 3 Sydney Scott. Nevertheless, the freshman quickly dispatched of Alexandra Zindman to take her match.
At No. 9, senior co-captain Lauralynn Drury gave the Quakers an early 2-1 advantage when she pulled out a hard-fought 3-2 victory. After dropping the first game, a tense 10-9 contest, Drury regained control and won the next two games, 9-2, 10-8, to get the advantage in the match. Her opponent, Harvard's Sandra Mumanachit, was not done, winning the fourth game 10-8. After falling down 4-0 in the fifth game, Drury managed to secure the victory in the fifth game, though, taking a 9-4 decision to seal the match. That comeback would prove to be very important later as the overall match tensed up.
Harvard evened the score in the next round of matches, winning at No. 2 and No. 5. However, they could not get an edge on the No. 1 Quakers, as senior co-captain Elizabeth Kern drove home a 3-0 victory at No. 8. Kern, who has played much of the season at No. 10, stepped up and left no doubt in her match, winning 9-5, 9-6, 9-5.
It all came down to the final round of matches, as each team had three victories with three contests to play. No. 1 Kristen Lane won her match, 9-5, 9-4, 9-0, leaving the two teams tied at 4 with only Britt Hebden left on the court for the Quakers.
Last week at Ringe Courts, the building was buzzing as Penn's match with Princeton came down to the final game. The same could be said for the atmosphere at Harvard, as the Crimson fans sensed a chance to upset the No. 1 ranked team in the country. At No. 4, Britt Hebden would have none of that.
Playing a spot above her usual No. 5 position, Hebden was "incredibly composed," according to head coach Jack Wyant. With the cheers of the Quaker fans who had come to Cambridge to support the team behind her, Hebden quickly raced out to a 9-4, 9-7, 9-7 victory, giving Penn the win.
The Quakers will wrap up their regular season tomorrow when they travel to Dartmouth to take on the Big Green. Play is set to being at 11 a.m.
1. Kristen Lange def. June Tiong, 3-0 (9-5, 9-4, 9-0)
2. Alisha Mashruwala def. Alisha Turner, 3-1 (9-2, 3-9, 9-3, 9-4)
3. Katherine O'Donnell def. Tara Chawla, 3-1 (9-4, 6-9, 9-7, 9-4)
4. Britt Hebden def. Johanna Snyder, 3-0 (9-4, 9-7, 9-7)
5. Bethan Williams def. Christina Matthias, 3-2 (6-9, 9-1, 3-9, 10-8, 9-2)
6. Annie Madeira def. Alexandra Zindman, 3-1 (9-3, 6-9, 9-2, 9-4)
7. Supryia Balsaker def. Emily Goodwin, 3-0 (9-1, 9-5, 9-6)
8. Elizabeth Kern def. Charlene Neo, 3-0 (9-5, 9-6, 9-5)
9. Lauralynn Drury def. Sandra Mumanachit, 3-2 (9-10, 9-2, 10-8, 8-10, 9-4)