Philadelphia’s “International Love” won the eighty-seventh Women’s Howe Cup National Championships at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia Sunday, November 14.
The Howe Cup featured more than 175 women competing on five-player teams in four divisions, and was held alongside the MPB Doubles and Philly Pro Doubles with a professional draw and four amateur draws.
The unique format of the Howe Cup draws players from every aspect of the game and of all ages with 15 years olds competing alongside 70 year olds, collegiate and professional players in the A draw to those who have only played the sport for a month in the D draw, and Howe Cup veterans playing an instrumental role in organizing teams. 60% of the 175 players were returning players, 14 of which have competed in ten or more Howe Cups since 2009. Players travelled from as far as Reno, Dallas, Toledo and Atlanta with the northeast corridor from Boston to Virginia representing much of the field.
Philadelphia’s champions, International Love, consisting of captain Lauren West, Jessica Davis, Mary Fung-a-Fat, Radhika Cobb, and Nabilla Arrifin pulled off a perfect tournament. After topping their group without dropping a match, the Philadelphians clinched the title with a 5-0 win over Boston’s Hail MARIs. In addition to their Howe Cup title, both West and Cobb were successful on the Specter Center’s all blue doubles courts with West clinching the first facility’s professional doubles title with Georgina Stoker in a dramatic five-game final against Amanda Sobhy & Lume Landman, and Cobb claiming the MPB Doubles A division title with Tehani Guruge.
“It’s been such an incredible first experience at Howe Cup,” Davis said. “Our team has been fantastic from start to finish, I saw excellent effort from each member of this team. A lot of us played multiple events with both the doubles and singles and I never heard any complaints about how tired we were, we just pushed through and put in an excellent performance. I’m so proud of this team. It feels even better to win it on home turf in Philly, this was my first time competing at the Specter Center and was great to test out the glass court. Thanks to US Squash and the Specter Center for hosting such an important event for women’s squash.”
The B division proved to be the closest division of the tournament with New York B, Philly B and the Boston Queen Bs all winning and losing a match in the 1-3 place round robin playoff. New York B–including Phillis Chan, Pam Schoenberg, Hope Johnson, Taylor Pullinger and Diana Kirkwood–clinched the title on games won.
Boston won its first C title since 2017 as the Queen C’s–including Joetta Francis, Colesto Williams, Lovely Oliff, Nada El-Newahy and Teresa Conza–topped the 1-3 place playoff with a close 3-2 win over second place SquashSmarts.
Philadelphia earned a second title as its D team–including Katie Deveaux, Atzi Cervantes, Jiangfeng Jennifer Su, Dianna Ramos and Kellie Vahlsing–upset the top seeded Toledo Club Warriors 4-1 in the final.
The Howe Cup, the United States’ largest squash event for women, has a long history. The annual women’s five-person team tournament first began in 1928 as an inter-city competition between New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. Over the past ten years, the Howe Cup has seen more participation than any other U.S. Championship with twenty percent growth.
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