Top-seeded and undefeated Harvard University and cinderella-story 6-seed Drexel University met in the Howe Cup (National Championship) Final on Sunday afternoon at Harvard’s Murr Center, and it was the Crimson who emerged victorious. Drexel gave Harvard a scare in the early-going, but the Crimson players in the first wave regrouped to take a 3-0 lead, never looking back from there.
The finals started with Numbers 1, 5, and 9 on court to start the competition. Whether it was Drexel’s adrenaline carried over from yesterday’s upset of Trinity, a few early-match jitters from Harvard’s younger players, or a mix of both, Drexel took 2-0 and 2-1 leads at 5 and 9. Harvard’s Serena Daniel and Brecon Welch, both competing in their first Howe Cup, then righted the ship and got into the legs of the Drexel players, who had an exhausting match against 2-seed Trinity in the semifinal. Both rookies captured close comeback five-game wins, and paired with No. 1 Hana Moataz’s three-gamer over Drexel’s Karina Tyma, Harvard had the 3-0 lead they really desired.
Quickly after Moataz’s win, Harvard’s No. 2 Marina Stefanoni stepped on court against yesterday’s hero for Drexel, Alina Bushma, a Ukrainian native playing inspired squash in honor of her family and friends back in Kyiv. Bushma won an intense five-game match against Trinity the day before, while Stefanoni was fresh, and the difference in energy and precision was clear. Stefanoni won in three games to give Harvard its fourth point.
With the home crowd cheering them on, Harvard’s No. 6 Evie Coxon and No. 7 Charlotte Orcutt made it a race to see who could capture the clinching point for their team. Coxon had a head start, and even though her match also went to five games, she closed out opponent Brooke Herring to clinch Harvard’s seventh straight Howe Cup title. Orcutt followed shortly after with her own 3-0 win.
The lone bright spot on the scoreboard for Drexel came from No. 8 player Amirah Rosli, who bounced back from a lost first game to claim a 3-1 victory. Harvard senior Amina Yousry finished her Howe Cup career with a win at No. 3, as did rookie Habeeba Eldefrawy at No. 4.
Harvard has won the championship in seven of the last 11 fully-played seasons, reaching the final in all of them. This victory was also the team’s 98th in a row dating back to the 2014 Howe Cup final, which Trinity won.
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