No. 9 Bears bring home the Kurtz Cup

Sports Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 28, 2012

At the B Division Women’s National Team Championship this past weekend in Boston, the women’s squash team defeated Williams 5-4 to claim the Kurtz Cup. With the victory, the squad is now ranked ninth overall in women’s collegiate squash. The team defeated Mount Holyoke 8-1 and Bates 5-4 to meet Williams in the final, a rematch of last year’s division showdown.

“We played really well against Mount Holyoke,” said Sarah Beresford ’13. “It set the tone for us, and it certainly showed that we had arrived to play awesome squash and compete at the highest level.”

Though the teams had met prior to the semifinal against Bates, the matchups were different this time around, Beresford said.

“They had beaten us 7-2 in the fall while five of our juniors were abroad, and we didn’t have our one transfer,” Beresford said. “Our lineup was completely different, but so was theirs, since Bates lost their number four player due to injury. The match was fresh and we were really fired up to regain our rightful rank above their team.”

The five wins against Bates came from all across the ladder, which “demonstrates our strength as a team,” Beresford said. Beresford acknowledged the strong individual performances of all the winners — Katie Yates ’14 at No. 9, co-captain Erika Kohnen ’12 at No. 7, Lydia Smith ’13 at No. 6 and Mina Shakarshy ’15 at No. 4 — but singled out Sarah Domenick ’14 at No. 2 for bringing home a win in the deciding match.

“Sarah Domenick played the most amazing squash of her life to win for us,” Beresford said. “She beat an extremely strong player in three decisive games.”

The team rode its wave of momentum and kept each other in high spirits to face Williams in the final on Sunday. 

“It was great to have a chance to play Williams in the final,” said Kohnen. “Our matches are always very close, and they always push us to play at our maximum.”

Both teams were neck-and-neck from the start. Beresford won her match in four games, while Katherine Elliott-Moskwa ’15 and Yates won a pair of tight matches. Shakarshy was down 2-0 in her match, but came back to win 3-2, setting up Kohnen to play the deciding match.

After Kohnen dropped the first game to her Williams opponent, she pushed back and sent the match to a fifth and decisive game. With the cup on the line in her last match as a Bear, Kohnen pulled out a 13-11 win to give Bruno the silverware.

“Our senior captain Erika Kohnen showed the utmost physical stamina, mental strength, sportsmanship and heart that anyone could ask of a squash player,” Beresford said. “Matches do not get closer than hers, and neither does the amount of pressure for a win.”

Dori Rahbar ’14 agreed. 

“It was the closest match I had ever been a part of,” Rahbar said. “No one could have written a better ending. It was right out of a movie — a senior winning the last match in the last game by the smallest margin of points. It’s something I’ll never forget.”

Kohnen said her teammates helped push her through the tough match.

“As the matches got closer, the team really ramped up the support,” she said. “I know that in my matches, the cheering and support of my teammates really helped me to push that extra little bit and give it my all.”

“That last match was the best possible way I could have ended my college squash career,” Kohnen added. “I feel so lucky to be a part of this team — in a sport that is in many ways very individual, I think it’s our strong team dynamic that has driven us towards the success we’ve had this year.”


To stay up-to-date, subscribe to our daily newsletter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *