Women’s squash wins B Division Nationals at Kurtz Cup
By Jackson Dean, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, February 19, 2013
The No. 9 Dartmouth women’s squash team capped its season with three straight wins against No. 16 Amherst College, No. 12 Columbia University and No. 15 Bates College to claim the B Division of the National Team Championships in the Kurtz Cup this weekend. Although the Big Green (9-8, 1-6 Ivy) was previously slated to compete in the Howe Cup, featuring the nation’s top eight teams, Dartmouth instead headlined the Kurtz Cup for women’s teams ranked ninth through 16th after two losses last weekend. The Big Green made success look easy, losing only one match in all three of the contests.
The top-seeded Big Green defeated Amherst (14-9) 9-0 on Friday night in the opening round of the cup. Dartmouth dominated the contest, suffering only one set loss in all nine matches. Co-captain Corey Schafer ’13, Melina Turk ’14, Nina Scott ’16, co-captain Sarah Loucks ’13, Kate Nimmo ’14, Tori Dewey ’16, Lydie McKenzie ’16 and Helena Darling ’15 each won perfect 3-0 matches while Oona Morris ’15 rallied to win 3-1 and complete the 9-0 sweep.
Dartmouth returned to the courts for the semifinals on Saturday to defeat Ivy League rival Columbia (5-11, 0-7 Ivy) 9-0. The Big Green shut out its opponent for the second straight day and advanced to the finals. Turk, Scott, Loucks, McKenzie and Darling all won their matches without losing a game. Playing in the No. 1 spot, Schafer came back to win her final two games and ground out a hard fought 3-2 victory. Nimmo also defeated her opponent 3-2 while Dewey and Morris each won 3-1.
“We beat Bates pretty handily early in the season but we were definitely expecting a harder match because their number one- and three-seeded players didn’t play the first time,” Nimmo said.
Dartmouth capped a perfect weekend, defeating Bates 8-1 in the Kurtz Cup final. Loucks and Schafer each ended their team collegiate squash careers with 3-1 victories. Both captains won all three of their matches this weekend to end on four-match winning streaks. Scott, Dewey, McKenzie, Darling and Morris each won their matches without dropping a game and Scott, McKenzie and Darling did not drop a single game in the entire tournament. Nimmo won her match 3-1 to give Dartmouth the 8-1 overall victory.
Loucks said she was proud of herself and the team’s performances this season.
“Personally I think I finished the season really well, which I am happy about in my senior season,” Loucks said. “I’m also glad that I was able to beat Cornell, because it is always fun to beat Cornell.”
While the women’s team dominated play this weekend, it had hoped to remain in the nation’s top eight teams to earn a chance to compete for the A Division National Team Championship in the Howe Cup. However, following four forfeits in last weekend’s 7-2 loss to Brown University, Dartmouth dropped to No. 9 to earn the top-seed in the B Division Kurtz Cup.
“We came in with very high expectations,” Loucks said. “We had hoped to be in the A draw, but when we were placed into the B draw we knew we had a great chance to win it.”
Nimmo said the women felt their best was the best in the division and entered the tournament hoping to win.
“We felt we were a much better team than the others in this division so we wanted to prove that we were deserving of being in the top division,” Nimmo said.
This was the final team match for Schafer and Loucks, who both dominated their competition this season. Loucks typically played in the Big Green’s number four spot and finished her collegiate career with a record of 29-33, while Schafer has played in the Big Green’s number one spot for the past two years and finished her collegiate career with a record of 32-32. She said the team finished the season competitively, putting up strong efforts against quality opponents.
“We won the matches that we set out to win and we lost some close ones to teams that we knew would be close,” Schafer said. “We had closer matches against teams like Stanford [University] and Trinity [College] this year so it was nice to see us in the final round of matches and having a chance to win it.”
Both Schafer and Loucks mentioned the friendships they cultivated during their time on the squash team.
“I had so much fun and I made a ton of great friends,” Loucks said. “My Dartmouth experience would have been so different had I not played varsity squash and I am so glad that I did.”
The Big Green players now await their seeding for the Individual Championships, which will take place from Mar. 1 to 3. The individual tournament is split into two sections, with 32 players competing in the A draw and 48 players competing in the B draw. Dartmouth’s players will find out where they are seeded early next week.