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Ivy Champ Women's Squash Enters Howe Cup With National Title Aspirations

Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications                                                                      Release: 02/14/2013
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Courtesy: Beverly Schaefer
The top-ranked women's squash team enters this weekend's Howe Cup as the top overall seed.
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HOWE CUP: BRACKETS l JULIE CERULLO FEATURE l TIGERS WIN IVY TITLE
TWITTER: PRINCETON SQUASH l PRINCETON ATHLETICS

The Princeton women's squash team will compete for its 18th Howe Cup national team championship this weekend, and it will enter the eight-team tournament at Yale as the top seed and lone undefeated squad.

Princeton will open the Howe Cup championships, held Friday-Sunday at the Brady Center on Yale's campus, with a Friday quarterfinal at 1:30 pm against eighth-ranked Brown on Courts 2-4. Princeton has already earned a 9-0 win over Brown this season, and the Tigers won 27 of the 28 individual games played.

If Princeton takes care of business Friday, it sets up for a wild final weekend of the women's team season. The Tigers would then play in the first semifinal (Courts 1-3), a 1:30 pm matchup against the winner of Friday's quarterfinal between fourth-seeded Trinity and fifth-seeded Yale (Trinity won the regular season match 5-4, though it was played at Trinity).

Princeton was scheduled to play Trinity last weekend, though the winter storm forced the match to be cancelled. Princeton and Trinity have played four times in the last two seasons, and both won twice. Both of the Tigers' wins came in the Jadwin Squash Courts, while Trinity won once at home and once in Cambridge during the 2011 Howe Cup Championships.

If Yale wins, it would set up a rematch of the Feb. 2 match at Brady, when Princeton pulled out a 5-4 victory over the Bulldogs. Based on the submitted lineups, six of the nine matchups would be rematches from the regular season. The different matchups would come at 4, 5 and 9, all of which were Princeton victories on Feb. 2. Of the six rematches, two were 3-0 wins for Princeton (2,7), one was a 3-0 Yale win (1), two were 3-1 Yale wins (6,8) and one was a 3-2 Yale win (3).

If Princeton navigates its way back to the Howe Cup final, it will likely take on either No. 2 Harvard or No. 3 Penn in a 1 pm match on Sunday (Courts 1-3). The Crimson defeated Penn 6-3 at Penn in January; the expected rematch would come Saturday at 4 pm, following the first semifinal.

Princeton defeated both Harvard and Penn at home; though both matches were challenging throughout, they had far different final scores. The Tigers rallied for a 5-4 win over Harvard, the reigning champion, after freshman Rachel Leizman fought off a match ball at the No. 4 spot. Her win allowed junior Alex Sawin to clinch the victory at the No. 7 spot.

In its first match after finals, Princeton took down third-ranked Penn by a stunning 9-0 score. Princeton won four matches by 3-2 scores, and three others by 3-1 scores. Only top players Julie Cerullo (No. 1) and Libby Eyre (No. 2) won by 3-0 scores.

The 2012-13 Princeton squad is reminiscent of the three Howe Cup national championship squads between 2007-09, when overwhelming depth carried the Tigers to a three-year title reign. During their run to the 2013 Ivy League title, Princeton has gotten crucial wins from every spot in the lineup, and has been particularly strong at the bottom three spots; against Harvard, Penn and Yale, Princeton is 8-1 at the seventh, eighth, and ninth spots.

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