No. 6 women’s squash ends its regular season on a historic note, as Sunday’s victory marks the first time Columbia has ever defeated Penn. The team’s 7-2 loss to No. 2 Princeton (13-1 overall, 6-1 Ivy) on Friday was the only tarnish on in an otherwise memorable weekend.
With all conference games now complete, the Lions (9-5 overall, 4-3 Ivy) finish the regular season ranked fourth behind Harvard, Princeton, and Yale to improve upon last season’s sixth place finish.
In addition to achieving a first-time defeat of Penn, the Lions will now post their first-ever winning conference record. They end their regular season with the program’s best-ever overall record and a 4-3 conference record.
Although Friday’s outcome did not fall in the Lions’ favor, women’s squash succeeded in matching its best all-time margin against the Tigers. Columbia also lost to Princeton 7-2 during the 2015-16 season. The Lions had been defeated by the Tigers 9-0 in each of their prior contests.
While seniors Tanvi Khanna, Addie Fulton, and Adele Bernhard were the focus of Friday’s senior ceremony, it was junior Maddie O’Connor and first-year Habiba Mohamed who delivered Columbia’s two victories of the night.
O’Connor defeated Princeton’s Raneem El Torky in five sets playing in the second position. O’Connor handily won the first two games 11-6 and 11-4. El Torky then responded with two wins of her own, taking both sets 8-11. Her wins extended the match to a fifth set in which O’Connor secured the win 11-5.
Mohamed beat Princeton’s Morgan Steelman in the fifth position in a dominant three sets on Friday. She won her match 12-10, 11-5, and 11-5. Mohamed then continued her winning streak on Sunday, when she secured a critical victory over Penn’s Lindsay Stanley with the score tied 4-4. Her individual win clinched the victory for Columbia.
While Penn demonstrated the strength of its top position players, the Quakers could not match the depth of Columbia’s roster. Khanna, O’Connor, first-year Nicole Kendall, and first-year Jane Pincus all dropped their matches playing in the first, second, third, and sixth positions, respectively.
In addition to Mohamed, sophomore Jui Kalgutkar, first-year Doria Chen, Fulton, and junior Diana Masch posted wins against their Penn opponents in the fourth, seventh, eighth, and ninth positions, respectively, to edge ahead of the Quakers.
Women’s squash will compete next in the College Squash Association National Team Championships from Friday, Feb. 16 through Sunday, Feb. 18 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Times are to be announced.