The 81stannual U.S. Women’s Team Championship, also known as the Howe Cup, was held the weekend of November 14-16 at the McArthur Squash Center at Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, VA. Over 150 women competing in 5-woman teams in the singles divisions A, B, C, and D. The A team, organized by NCS member AJ Copeland, included former Results pro Larissa Stephenson (who now lives in Houston), NCS junior Isabel Young, Baltimore junior Casey Wong, and two “orphan” recruits, Alli Rubin from Boston and Mei Lin Ong from California. The team was dubbed the “Four Corners”, reflecting the geographic diversity of its members. The Four Corners team beat out three other strong A teams in a round robin format to win the Howe Cup for NCS. The team’s first match against Boston was split 2-2 and came down to a nail-biter contest between captain and #1 player Larissa and her Boston opponent and close friend Fernanda Rocha; Larissa won in 5 games. With Larissa nursing a groin strain, the team was able to pull out a 3-2 victory against Seattle in the second contest. With the final match of the tournament, the team rallied to a 4-1 victory over Philadelphia to clinch the Cup. Congratulations to Casey and Isabel, the anchors of the team at the #2 and #5 positions, respectively, and who won all their matches of the tournament.
In a field of 12 teams in the B draw, the NCS B1 team of Howe Cup veterans finished third. In the first round of round robin play, the team defeated a Boston team 5-0, Philadelphia 3-2, and New York 5-0, advancing to the top tier of the second pool play. In the second round, the team lost a tough 3-2 contest to the California team that ultimately won the draw, and dropped 3-2 to a team of UVA undergraduate girls. Congratulations to Carole Grunberg who at the #4 position won all of her matches of the tournament!
Out of a 12-team B draw, the NCS B2 team – hailing from DC, VA and Darien, CT – finished fourth. On the first day of the Howe Cup tournament, the team defeated the Canadian team Northern Knickers 4-1 in the first round of play but lost their second match 3-2 to the eventual winners of the draw, the California Giant Sparkle. The team won their next three matches against the Barn Louses, Philly B and Cabernet Canucks —placing second in their first pool and finishing fourth overall. Team ringer Jess Powers dropped only one game throughout tournament play at the number four position. Go Jess!
NCS C Team “Covergirls”
In a field of nine teams in the C draw, the NCS team of Howe Cup veterans “Covergirls” finished second overall. Co-captain Donna Sharpe headlined at the #1 position, followed by Cindy Vojtech at #2 and Candace Craig at #3. NCS junior player Lauren Evoy was promoted from the D draw to the Cs this year and played #4, and Charlottesville resident but longtime NCS mercenary Stephanie Bosserman played #5. The first contest of the tournament witnessed a tight 2-3 loss to the Brooklyn Cyclones. Thereafter the team defeated teams from Charlottesville and Boston, and defeated the other NCS C team 3-2. Congratulations to both Stephanie and Candace, who won all 4 of their matches!
NCS C Team GlamourGirls
The second NCS team in the C draw, the “Glamourgirls”, finished 7th out of 9 teams, winning one team match and losing four. Co-captained by the only organic NCS player Elena Guarinello, playing at the #5 position, the team boasted Elizabeth Thys from Boston at #1, junior Haley Bloch from Connecticut at #2, Charlottesville native Molly Brooks at #3, and at #4 Alix Walker, formerly of New York, now living in Detroit. Both Haley and Molly were playing in their first Howe Cup ever. Congratulations to Molly for winning all 4 of her matches!
NCS D Team “DC Darlings”
Congratulations Darlings! — One of two NCS teams entered in the D draw, team “DC Darlings” won all their matches and finished first overall in a field of six teams in round robin play. The Darlings handily defeated teams from Philadelphia, Boston, Long Island and the other NCS D team. The team, headlined by Baltimore Squashwise coach Abby Markoe, also boasted Howe Cup newcomers Ainsley Stapleton and Anneka Wisker from NCS as well as mercenary Martha Shaindlin from Pittsburgh. Squashwise player Tayler St. Clair brought up the #5 position and won all of her matches. We know we will see these ladies at Howe Cup again!
NCS D Team “Dishy Chicks”
The second NCS team entered in the D draw, team “Dishy Chicks”, won two of their 5 matches in round robin play, finishing fourth overall in the division standings. The #1, #2 and #3 team positions were filled by Howe Cup veterans Christi Tezak, Melinda Hendricks of Charlottesville, and Maureen Wylie. Eryn Rich from the Baltimore urban squash program Squashwise played at the #4 position and Howe Cup newcomer Annette Zehler brought up the bottom of the ladder at #5. The team started strong with a 3-2 triumph over the Long Island Lizards, and then lost 1-4 to Boston. On the second day of play they defeated the Philly SquashSmarts team 4-1 and then lost to the DC Darlings 1-4. On the final day of play the Chicks lost a tight 2-3 contest with the second Philadelphia team. Congratulations to Annette for winning all 5 of her matches!