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National Champs, Women's Squash Team Captures National Title

By Kathryn Youngberg
On February 26, 2002

The energy level was high at the Payne and Whitney Gymnasium February 13-15 for the Women's Squash Howe Cup team championship. As expected, Trinity and Harvard, ranked number one and number two respectively going into the competition, dominated the weekend, with Trinity coming out on top with a 5-4 victory, making their record for the season a perfect one. On Friday night, Trinity was matched up against Cornell and beat them 9-0 in the quarterfinal. Freshman Bronwyn Cooper gave up only three points in her win at the number seven position. On Saturday, Trinity progressed to the semifinals to play against Princeton, beating them 7-2. Sophomore Carolynne Minkowski did not allow a single point scored against her with a 3-0 win at the no. 9 position.

On Sunday, for the finals, Trinity and Harvard went head to head. Last season, Harvard defeated Trinity at the Howe Cup 6-3.

As Pam Saunders said, "We were hungry to beat them this year. We are stronger, we were working harder, we are simply better."

The lady bantams went out with positive energy and a lot of confidence in the face of a powerful opponent. Sophomore Amina Helal, no. 1 for Trinity, came back from losing her first game to earn a 3-1 victory over Harvard no. 1 Louisa Hall, in the deciding match. Minkowski and freshman Lynn Leong won the first two matches of the day, 3-0, at no. 9 and no. 2 respectively. This took the score to 2-2, creating a very tense atmosphere.

The Trinity Lady Bants rose to the occasion as junior Clare Austin won, a crucial nail-biter of a match 3-2, against the no. 6 from Harvard. She came back from a 2-1 deficit to win the fifth game 10-9. Next came Cooper, winning her match at no. 7 spot 3-1. This win put Trinity up 4-3 in the team score. All that was needed by the time Amina's match came was one more win, and she pulled through by defeating Hall 3-1. With a record of 11-0, this was Trinity's first ever perfect season.

They were also the first non-Ivy league team to win the Howe Cup.

Minkowski sums things up, "It was awesome to come back after last year and win against rival Harvard and it was great that it was so close and that every match really counted. There was a lot of pressure and nerves but you can't think about that if you want to win."

Coming up this weekend is the WISA Singles Championship at Princeton. Normally, only the top five players from every team would go, but this year the top nine will attend.

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