After many years of nearly capturing the title, the NCS B team won the Howe Cup B final in a thrilling match against Boston. The team, led by Captain and NCS VP of Women, AJ Copeland, edged out a win in the 3-2 victory. Top seed Heidi Wagner secured the first win for NCS while AJ fell in a tough match at the fifth spot. Sally Pei turned fortunes for DC while Deb Phippard struggled in a tough match with Boston. In the end, Carole Grunberg eeked out a win in a tie break in the fifth game of the fifth match.
US Squash called Grunberg’s match the “match of the tournament and described it this way: The match of the tournament came at the No. 3 spot in the Division B final. With the teams tied at two matches apiece, Washington, DC’s Carole Grunberg, the reigning 60+ national champion, took on Boston’s Jimena Velarde, a player two decades her junior. From the start tensions were high and the points fiercely contested. Velarde looked in command after winning the first two games, 15-13 and 11-7, but Grunberg fought back, taking the third 12-10 and saving two match balls to win the fourth 15-13. Point after point, both players were making spectacular retrievals, extending rallies and pushing each other’s physical limits. In the fifth Grunberg took a 4-1 lead, but Velarde reeled her back in, eventually tying the score at nine all. Velarde fended off one match ball, but given a second chance at 11-10, Grunberg hit a crosscourt drop just out of Velarde’s reach to take the title. Grunberg looked stunned by her own performance as her teammates roared in jubilation.
NCS Howe Cup participants celebrated in style upon returning back to DC. Champagne was drunk and cake eaten!