Women’s squash secures fourth place at Kurtz Cup

Women’s squash (15-10) finished its regular season with a 6-3 loss to Dartmouth on Feb. 11. Over the weekend, the women faced stiff competition from Middlebury, Dartmouth and Brown at the B division of the CSA National Championship. The Ephs beat the Panthers, but lost to Big Green in the semifinals before falling to the Bears in the third-place matchup.

On Friday, the Ephs traveled to Harvard to compete in the Kurtz Cup, the B division of the CSA National Championship in which teams ranked ninth through 16th in the country compete. In the first round of the tournament, the team beat NESCAC rival Middlebury 6-3. Alyssa Ritchie ’17 showed resilience in a tough match, losing two games, but staying in it for a 11-7, 4-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-7 victory.

Co-captain Caroline Sawin ’15 also had an exciting match, with several games going to extra points. She defeated her opponent 10-12, 16-14, 11-6, 11-9. Charlotte Walsh ’17 showed consistency in her match, winning 11-9, 11-9, 11-9.

The next day, the team faced Dartmouth for the second time in the span of a week in the semi-finals of the Kurtz Cup and lost 7-2. Co-captain Ellie O’Neill ’15 had a tough match and fought hard, but eventually lost 11-8, 3-11, 5-11, 12-10, 12-14.

Hayley Parsons ’18 had one of the two victories of the night in an exciting five game match, which she won 11-8, 8-11, 16-14, 8-11, 11-5. Ananya Mahalingam-Dhingra ’18 won her match as well, defeating her opponent 11-8, 14-12, 6-11, 11-6.

The Ephs played their last match in the consolation final of the Kurtz Cup on Sunday, competing with Brown for third place in the tournament and the ranking of No. 11 in the nation. The match, postponed until 5:30 pm because of the weather, was also played using a five-court system due to this delay. The women lost to Brown 7-2 in the regular season and had the same result this Sunday.

Playing in the number two position, Parsons battled against her opponent to four games before eventually losing to Brown 12-10,11-4,6-11,11-8.

O’Neill fought valiantly to win her first two games 12-10, 11-3.  However, her Brown opponent in the third-seeded matchup fought back strongly to win the next three games 9-11, 7-11, 7-11.

Walsh similarly had a strong showing in her seventh-seeded match. Recovering from her initial 2-1 defecit to win her fourth game  11-4, Walsh competed strongly in the deciding fifth game before ultimately conceding the closely-contested match 10-12.

Nicole Friedman ’18, Nicole Feshbach ’16 and Ellen Coombe ’17 also all put forth valiant efforts against their Brown opponents but were ultimately unable to win.

The Ephs saw two victories at the hands of Sawin and Mahalingam-Dhingra. Sawin took her opponent to four games, winning with scores of 11-7,11-7,6-11,11-3. Mahalingam-Dhingra took her opponent to a rare five games, pulling out a well-deserved victory with scores of 13-11,11-9,10-12,3-11,14-12.

“Our ladies played hard and refused to lose,” said Head Coach Zafi Levy ’01. “In both matches versus Dartmouth and Brown we had real opportunities to win the match but we just came short in key matches. All in all, it has been a rewarding season with many great memories.”

Reflecting on the team’s departing members, Levy added, “Our seniors, Caroline Sawin and Ellie O’Neill, have been a tremendous force on and off the court. They have led us all season long with great performances on the court and great leadership abilities off the field. We will miss them greatly next year.”

The Ephs say goodbye to Sawin and O’Neill who will be graduating this spring but look forward to next winter’s season.