By Anne Bello
Published Feb 25, 2012 at 2:01 PM ET; Updated Feb 25, 2012 at 2:01 PM ET

College Squash AssociationBoston, MA — After a relatively sedate first day of play, the atmosphere at the Women’s Team Championships has changed. Since the first matches of the morning went on, the Murr Center has been filled with cheers and applause as teams have battled through close matches.

Howe Cup (A Division): The A Division semifinals are currently underway.

Kurtz Cup (B Division): The B Division semifinals are scheduled to begin at 4:00 pm.

Walker Cup (C Division): The Walker Cup semifinals pitted Wesleyan against Bowdoin and George Washington against Amherst.

The first upset of the day came thanks to Wesleyan’s 8-1 win over Bowdoin. The Polar Bears put up a good fight, taking  four matches to four games and two matches to five. Wes was on a roll, though, and Mary Foster (#1), Annie Maxwell (#2), Lauren Nelson (#3), Grace Zimmerman (#5), Nell Schwed (#6), Danielle Craig (#7), Kar-Anne Tan (#8), and Meherazade Sumariwalla (#9) all won their matches. Michaela Martin won in four for Bowdoin at #4.

George Washington and Amherst had not played this season, and while they were seeded back-to-back coming into the tournament, it wasn’t clear how close the match would be. Amherst got on the board first with  3-0 wins from #9 Ginny Wheeler and #3 Kate Savage. The #6 match gave the first signs of how close the overall match would be:  Tiffany Hingley (GW) defeated Sarah Nyirjesy (Amherst) in five competitive games. Amherst held the early lead, 2-1.

In the next round Arielle Lehman won in five at #2  and MK NcNeill won in three at #8 for Amherst, and Caroline Shumway kept GW in it with a 3-0 win at #5. Amherst still led 4-2, and GW would need to win all three of the final matches. The Colonials started to chip away at the Jeffs thanks to a 3-0 win from Jackie Shea at #1. Maya Nair’s five-game win at #7 over Lena Rice changed the match for GW, setting up a 4-all showdown between the #4s: Evelyn Kramer of Amherst and Elizabeth Tapley of GW. It looked like Amherst had the match as Kramer edged out Tapley in the first two games, 11-8, 11-9. But Tapley wasn’t about to give in. She battled back from 0-2 to win the next two games 11-4 and 11-6, keeping the Colonials’ hopes alive. The final game could have gone either way, but Tapley built upon the third and fourth games to send GW into the finals with an 11-9 win in the fifth.

Epps Cup (D Division): The 9:00 flight of matches featured the two Epps Cup semifinals: Smith versus Vassar and William Smith versus St. Lawrence.

Smith and Vassar, two Seven Sisters rivals, were playing for the fourth time this season. Smith led the season series 2-1 coming into today’s match, but the Brewers were determined to even the score. Smith took the early lead with a 3-0 win from  Szilvi Kiss at #9, and Jaimi Inskeep won in five over Vassar’s Jill Levine at #6 to give the Pioneers a 2-0 lead. Vassar answered with a 3-0 win from Nina Punukollu at #3. In the second round, Helen Queenan won 3-1 for Smith at #4, and Libby Pei won 3-0 for Vassar at #2. The #7 match between Smith’s Elena Plesco and Vassar’s Katherine Cornish was a marathon: 12-10, 12-10, 9-11, 6-11, 11-9. Plesco came through in the fifth to give Smith a 4-2 edge going into the third round. A win from #1 Jacqueline Zhou clinched the Pioneers’ spot in the finals. Catie Blunt posted one more win for Smith at #6, and Alexandra Bowditch won in four for Vassar at #4. The final match score was Smith 6, Vassar 3.

The Smith-Vassar match was competitive, but the William Smith-St. Lawrence duel was the match of the early morning. St. Lawrence controlled the top of the ladder thanks for wins from Brigitte Tousignant at #1, Jennifer Hearn at #2, and Brittany Coxe, who won in five at #3. The Saints also got a four-game win from Carolyn Fisher at #9. The Herons were dominant in the middle of the ladder. Sarah Cutts (#8), Katherine Riordan (#7), Ginny McDermott (#6), and Courtney Leous (#5) all won for William Smith; Cutts won in five over Kate Holby. The overall match score was tied 4-4 going into the final match between Anne Habecker (William Smith) and Kendall Hearty (St. Lawrence) at #4. Hearty won the first game 11-8, but Habecker came back to win the second 13-11, which she followed with an 11-7 win in the third. Hearty’s 11-4 win in the next game forced a fifth game, which would decide the match. Habecker’s deceptively languid style masked her competitive drive, and with all her teammates cheering her on, she pulled away 11-6 in the fifth to put William Smith into the finals.

BC and Georgetown will play in the Epps consolation finals.

E Division: Northeastern took on Rochester, and Drexel opened against Vanderbilt in round robin play. Northeastern looked strong in their first match of the tournament, winning most of their matches 3-0. Two matches went to five games: Rachael Ziembroski (Northeastern) versus Hoai Tran (Rochester) at #5 and Sumita Mukund (Northeastern) and Sasha Ganeles (Rochester) at #8. Northeastern won both matches, and the overall match score was 8-1.

Drexel’s 6-3 win over Vanderbilt marked their first victory at the Women’s National Team Championships as a varsity program.

Emerging Teams: Washington University in St. Louis and the University of California Berkeley played this morning in the Emerging Teams round robin. The 3-2 decision gave Wash U the program’s first-ever win at the Women’s National Team Championships.