PHILADELPHIA - It's been 16 years since the University of Pennsylvania women's squash team hoisted the Howe Cup, but the Quakers have put themselves in a great position to win the program's second national title at the CSA Team Championships this weekend.
Penn will head to New Haven, Conn. for the three-day event at Yale as the second seed for the second year in a row and will meet No. 7 Columbia Lions in the first round.
Finishing the season with eight consecutive wins, the Quakers enter the Howe Cup at 12-1, their second straight one-loss regular season. Their only loss came to No. 1 Harvard.
HOWE CUP COMPETITORS: Last year's national champions, the Harvard Crimson hold the No. 1 seed once this year. Harvard is a perfect 10-0 this season and won seven matches 9-0.
Princeton claims the No. 3 seed after an 11-2 regular season. The Tigers make their way to New Haven after an exciting 5-4 win over Trinity last weekend.
Coming in as the fourth seed is the 2014 national champion, Trinity. The Bantams had their first four-loss season since 2011-12, but still recorded 11 wins.
The hosts, Yale will use its home court advantage as the No. 5 team in the tournament. The Bulldogs went 11-4 with their only losses coming to the top four teams.
The only team from the West Coast, Stanford will make its way from Palo Alto to New Haven as the No. 6 seed. The Cardinal are 11-4 and have played five matches at Yale this season, five more than they played at home in 2015-16.
The Quakers opponent, Columbia come in at the No. 7 spot. The Lions are 6-6, but failed to beat any team ranked higher than them in this weekend's tournament.
Rounding out the field of eight is Cornell. The Big Red went 9-7 during the regular season and will meet No. 1 Harvard in the first round. Harvard defeated them 9-0 three weeks ago.
THE ROAD TO THE HOWE CUP: This season has been a dominant one for the Red and Blue. Penn went 12-1 with only one loss coming No. 1 Harvard, 6-3. Of their 12 wins, the Quakers posted nine by a 9-0 score. They played just one 5-4 match this season, a thrilling one-point win over Trinity. Penn comes into the Howe Cup on an eight-match win streak, with its final three coming by 9-0 scores.
THE END OF AN ERA: There have been few more decorated players in Penn women's squash history than Yan Xin Tan. Tan earned Ivy League Rookie of the Year in her freshman campaign and has been named an All-American three times. The Richey Award finalist will play her final matches for the Red and Blue this weekend, needing just one individual victory for 50 in her career.
THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA: With an undefeated individual record in her first two seasons at Penn, Marie Stephan will be one of several Quakers to help fill the void left by Tan. Stephan went 13-0 during the regular season and did not drop and individual game, going 39-0.