Women’s National Team Championships (Howe Cup): Day One Report
Princeton, NJ — Johns Hopkins and Drexel were the last two teams to play on the first day of the Women’s National Team Championships (Howe Cup). By the time the two “E” Division squads took to the courts, Princeton’s Jadwin and Dillon Gymnasiums had seen some exciting first-round action.
Here is a division-by-division summary of today’s matches:
Howe Cup (“A” Division): Yale and Harvard, the top two seeds, advanced to the semifinals by sweeping their opponents. Yale defeated Dartmouth 9-0, and Harvard beat Cornell by the same score. Yale will face Princeton in the semifinals; Yale won 7-2 the last time they played the Tigers. Princeton advanced with a 7-2 win over Penn, reversing a 4-5 loss to the Quakers in late January. With an enthusiastic home crowd cheering on the Tigers and six matches going beyond three games, the Princeton-Penn showdown was one of the most spirited and exciting matches of the day. Penn will play Dartmouth in the consolation semifinals. The other consolation semifinal will be between Cornell and Stanford, who put up a game effort in a 2-7 loss to Trinity. The Bantams will face Harvard in the semifinals. When the two teams played earlier in the month, Harvard recorded a 7-2 win.
Kurtz Cup (“B” Division): The “B” Division teams have been trading rankings spots all season, and today was no different. The biggest upset was fifteenth-seeded Mount Holyoke’s 6-3 win over tenth-seeded Middlebury. Bates lost 3-6 to Amherst in January, and the Bobcats have been making up for it since then. They beat the Jeffs 6-3 at the NESCAC championships, and today they won decisively, notching an 8-1 victory over Amherst. Bates will face Brown in the semifinals. The top-seeded Bears cruised into the next round with a 9-0 sweep of George Washington. Williams came through with a 6-3 win over “B” Division newcomers Columbia. Williams will play Mount Holyoke in the semifinals. The two Western Mass squads have not yet played each other this season, so it should be an interesting match-up. Amherst will play George Washington in one consolation semifinal, and Columbia and Middlebury will play in the other.
Walker Cup (“C” Division): The “C” Division featured several matches between teams that are well acquainted with each other. This was the third meeting of the season between Wesleyan and Vassar. The first time they played the Cardinals swept the Brewers, and the second time Wesleyan won 7-2. This time Wesleyan won 8-1. William Smith and Hamilton played once earlier in the season, and in that contest the Continentals swept the Herons. This time around William Smith managed to take one match off Hamilton, but they couldn’t stop the Continentals’ march into the semifinals. Bowdoin and Colby, who were ranked back-t0-back at twentieth and twenty-first, traveled down from Maine to Princeton together. With today’s 8-1 win over Colby, Bowdoin has gone three-for-three against the Mules this season. Tufts and F&M were the only pair of teams in the division that had not played each other this year, but the Diplomats left no doubt as to who would advance, serving up a 9-0 win over the Jumbos. F&M and Bowdoin will face each other in one semifinal, and Wesleyan and Hamilton will meet in the other. The consolation match-ups will be Tufts-Colby and Vassar-William Smith.
Epps Cup (“D” Division): The Epps Cup action opened with an upset, as Georgetown, the thirty-first seed, beat twenty-sixth-seeded St. Lawrence 6-3. The top seed in the division, Connecticut College, kicked off their 2011 championship weekend in style, defeating a short-handed Northeastern squad 9-0. After missing out on the 2010 tournament, Colgate returned to the Women’s National Team Championships with a first-round match against Wellesley. The Blue didn’t take it easy on the Raiders, handing the team a 1-8 loss. The closest match in the division — and as of publication the only 5-4 match of the day — was between Smith and Boston College. While the Eagles controlled the top four matches, the bottom of the Pioneers’ ladder came through with some clutch performances to secure the win. Smith will face Georgetown in the semifinals, while BC and St. Lawrence will meet in the consolation semis. The semifinal for the top half of the bracket will be between Conn and Wellesley, and Colgate and Northeastern will square off in the other consolation.
“E” Division: As of publication, only one “E” Division score was in, and that was for the Cal-Haverford match. The Bears seem to be making the most of their trip east, defeating Haverford 6-3. The “E” Division only has six teams and features two round robins. Vanderbilt joins Cal and Haverford in one round robin, and Drexel, Johns Hopkins, and New York University are in the other. Haverford was scheduled to take the courts again against Vanderbilt this evening, and Johns Hopkins and Drexel were also set to play tonight. Tomorrow will see Cal take on Vanderbilt, and NYU face Hopkins and Drexel. On Sunday, the winner of one round robin will play the winner of the other for the “E” Division title.