NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – The Mount Holyoke College squash team saw its long-reign as Seven Sisters Champions come to an end on Saturday at Smith College. The Lyons defeated the host Pioneers by a 9-0 margin, but fell 6-3 to Wellesley College in the deciding game. It marks the first runner-up finish since 2006 for MHC, which is now 8-9 on the season.
Headlining the day for the Lyons were Seven Sisters All-Tournament Team selections, Randima Ranaweera and sophomore Sherouk Khefagy. Both captured victory in their matches at the top and second positions, respectively, against Wellesley.
The Lyons opened the tournament with a dominant 9-0 victory over the homestanding Pioneers. The first year's for MHC put forth a great effort to get things going as they posted wins in the second, sixth and eighth flights to start. Allison Shilling recorded a 3-0 win (11-3, 11-4, 11-3) over Carly Mellilo from the second spot on the ladder, while Amy Sanchez was a 3-0 victor (11-6, 11-2, 11-3) against Jin Lee from the sixth position. Amanda Lee also had a key win, defeating Leah Jeon, 3-0 (11-7, 11-2, 11-5) from the eighth spot.
Mount Holyoke also saw Francis Perkins' scholar Maria Correa defeat Roseanne Hui, 3-0 (11-3, 11-5, 12-10) in the ninth position. In the other odd matches on the ladder, sophomore Anna Hartman downed Jessica Ryan by a 3-0 (11-1, 11-1, 11-1) margin in the seven's, while classmate Catherine Ryan was a 3-0 (11-6, 11-8, 11-7) winner from the fifth position.
Junior Xianger Fei defeated Eva Morgenstein in the fours by a 3-0 (11-2, 11-3, 11-0) score, while first year Sanjana Merchant recorded an 11-5, 11-3, 11-3 win against Geena Choo in the third position. Wrapping up the action was junior Samantha Rosado, who played a tough match against Vivian Lee from the top of the ladder. Holding a 2-0 lead, Rosado was pushed to the edge in the third, forced to win the match in extra points as she held off Lee for a 15-13 victory and the match win (11-8, 11-4, 15-13).
In the final match of the day against the Blue, Mount Holyoke saw wins from the top, second and seventh positions, but could not overcome in the middle of the lineup. Ranaweera posted a 3-0 (11-5, 11-2, 14-12) victory over Rosemary O'Connor from the first spot, while Khefagy was a 3-0 winner in the second position against Sara Del Balzo (11-1, 11-1, 11-3).
Rounding out MHC's victories was Fei, who defeated Navisha Gupta, 3-0 (11-4, 11-9, 11-6). There were other solid battles for the Lyons, including Merchant, who lost to Rhea Advani by a 3-1 (11-9, 11-13, 11-7, 11-7) score. Also playing a tough one was Ryan, who fell to the Blue's Kate Loftus, 3-1 (11-5, 13-15, 11-9, 11-4).
The loss to the Blue was the first for Mount Holyoke since the 2004-05 season. The Lyons had won 12 straight, including a 6-3 win by MHC in December at the Wesleyan Round Robin. Additionally, Mount Holyoke's second-place finish is the third for the program since the Seven Sisters Championship began in 2000.
MHC returns to action on Wednesday in a 6pm match at Amherst.
Cover photo of Ranaweera & Khefagy, along with interior photo of the Mount Holyoke and Wellesley teams courtesy of MHC Squash.