By Anne Bello
Published Jul 16, 2009 at 6:35 PM ET; Updated Jul 25, 2009 at 10:10 PM ET

princetonPrinceton, NJ — National team champion Princeton went undefeated in dual-match play to win the 2009 Barhite Award. The Barhite Award is given annually to the women’s team with the best dual-match record throughout the season.

Princeton, coached by Gail Ramsay, opened the season with a decisive 9-0 victory over Stanford and went on to dominate regular-season play.  The Tigers, led by senior tri-captains Aly Brady, Maggie O’Toole, and Joanna Scoon, rolled through the first part of the season, sweeping five of their first six matches 9-0. UPenn put up more resistance when they traveled to Princeton in late January, but the Tigers walked away with a 6-3 win, which they followed with 8-1 victories over Yale and Dartmouth.

The Tigers’ biggest test came during the final dual match of the season, when they faced off against an undefeated Harvard squad for the Ivy League title. The first round of matches showed how close the two teams were: three of the matches went to five games, with O’Toole winning in four over Harvard’s Bethan Williams at the number 6 position. The teams went into the second round tied with two wins apiece, and the Crimson secured hard-fought five-game wins at 5 and 7. But Princeton showed the strength of its ladder with 3-0 wins from Amanda Siebert at 1, Emery Maine at 3, and Katie Giovinazzo at 9. The 5-4 victory gave Princeton the Ivy League title and preserved their undefeated record.

Princeton’s win over Harvard also set the stage for an exciting rematch at the National Team Championships (Howe Cup), where the two teams met in the finals. Playing on their home courts, Harvard controlled the middle of the ladder, winning at 4, 5, 6, and 7. Princeton secured wins at the top of the ladder from Siebert, Neha Kumar, and Maine and from Nikki Sequeira and Giovinazzo at the bottom to take their third consecutive team title.

Fourteen of the sixteen players on the Tigers’ roster competed in scoring matches during the season, making winning both the national title and the Barhite Award true team efforts. New Jersey governor Jon Corzine recognized the Tigers’ accomplishments by honoring the team at Drumthwacket, the governor’s official residence.