New Haven, Conn. - Sophomore Amanda Sobhy (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) won the clinching match at the No. 1 position to lead the Harvard University Crimson to a 5-4 victory over the Trinity College Bantams in the College Squash Association (CSA) National Championship (Howe Cup) Finals at Yale University's Brady Courts this afternoon. No. 4-seeded Trinity, appearing in its sixth Howe Cup Final and its first since 2006, finishes with a final record of 16-3. No. 2-seeded Harvard captures its 14th national title and closes 2012-13 with a 15-1 mark. Trinity had upset top-seeded and previously-undefeated Princeton in yesterday's CSA National Semifinals by a score of 6-3.
"It was an incredible Howe Cup for our squash team," said Trinity Head Coach Wendy Bartlett (29th Season). "The players were on a mission and convincingly beat Yale and Princeton by fighting hard and outlasting their opponents. Today, the team got off to a slow start, but it so good to see that after being down, 3-0, they found a second wind and brought the match to 4-4. At that point it could have been any team's match to win. I am very proud of this team. We accomplished what we set out to do and peaked at just the right time. Now onto the Individuals where the players will be focusing on earning as many All American honors as possible."
Trailing, 3-0, after the first wave, Trinity junior tri-captain Catalina Pelaez (Bogota, Colombia) brought the Bantams back to life with a 3-0 victory in the No. 2 position over 2009-10 CSA Singles National Champion Laura Gemmell (Toronto, Ontario). After a 3-0 win at No. 5 by Harvard rookie Saumya Karki (Thane, India) over Trinity senior tri-captain Robyn Hodgson (Aberdeen, Scotland), Bantam junior Jennifer Pelltier (Richmond Hill, Ontario) returned the favor with a 3-0 shutout of sophomore Julianne Chu (New York, N.Y.) in the No. 8 match to bring the overall score to 4-2 after the second wave.
Trinity sophomore No. 4 Ashley Tidman (Lamor-Plage, France) erased Harvard rookie Michelle Gemmell (Toronto, Ontario) in short order, 3-0, to pull the Bantams to within one point at 4-3 with Sobhy leading Trinity first-year Kanzy El Defrawy (Cairo, Egypt), 1-0, in the No. 1 match. Sobhy remained perfect in her two collegiate seasons, besting El Defrawy, 11-7, in the second game and, 11-8, in game three to clinch the title. Bantam rookie No. 7 Sachika Balvani (Mumbai, India) won, 3-0, soon after to round out the scoring.
Trinity sophomore Natalie Babjukova (Prague, Czech Republic) lost for the first time this winter, dropping to 18-1, in a four-setter against Harvard senior co-captain Natasha Kingshott (Greenwich, Conn.). Bantam junior No. 3 Wee Nee Low (Penang, Malaysia) and sophomore Chanel Erasmus (Capetown, South Africa) also lost in four games early. Harvard wins its eighth in a row over the Bantams, including a 7-2 triumph in Cambridge 11 days ago.