Third time's the charm: Women's squash defeats Tufts 6-3 to claim second straight Walker Cup title

The Bates women's squash team took home its third Walker Cup title in the past four years with a 6-3 win over Tufts on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Pat Cosquer '97)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- After falling twice to Tufts earlier this season, the Bates women's squash team beat the Jumbos when it mattered the most, prevailing 6-3 Sunday afternoon to claim the Bobcats' second consecutive Walker Cup title. 

Bates (13-8) wins its third Walker Cup (C Division) title in the last four years. The Bobcats entered Sunday's match ranked No. 19 in the country. With the win, they finish the year No. 17 in the nation and No. 5 among Division III colleges. Adding to their résumé, the Bobcats also beat No. 16 Amherst during the regular season. 

Bates did not fare as well against the Jumbos (12-7) the first two times the teams met this year. The Bobcats fell 6-3 to the Jumbos on Feb. 25 and they dropped a close 5-4 match to Tufts during the NESCAC Championships.

In the Walker Cup final, some key Bobcats flipped the script on their opponents from Tufts. After losing twice during the year to Christa Irani, senior Katie Bull (Sudbury, Mass.) swept Irani early in Sunday's match 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 14-12) at the No. 9 position to set the tone for Bates. Bull, quietly having an outstanding year playing at the bottom of the ladder, improves her record to 14-7 this season. 

Senior captain Kristyna Alexova (Boskovice, Czech Republic) won her rubber match with the Jumbos' Julie Yeung. After beating her in the regular season, Alexova dropped her match to Yeung at NESCACs. On Sunday, she swept Yeung 3-0 (11-5, 11-6, 11-4) at the No. 2 position. A four-time All-NESCAC selection, Alexova improves her personal record to 16-5 on the season. 

Senior captain Vicky Arjoon (Georgetown, Guyana) and first-year Natasha Jones (Georgetown, Guyana) showed their improved play at NESCACs was the real deal. Arjoon has now beaten Megan Chen twice in a row after dropping a match to her in the regular season. On Sunday, she swept Chen 3-0 (11-2, 12-10, 11-2) at the No. 3 position. Arjoon, a four-time second team All-NESCAC selection, improves her record to 14-7 this season. 

Jones pulled off an epic rally against Rachel Windreich on Sunday, rallying from down 2-0 to prevail 3-2 (5-11, 9-11, 14-12, 12-10, 11-9) at the No. 6 position for her second straight win over Windreich after a regular season loss. Jones' record stands at 15-3 in her rookie season and she has won 10 straight matches. 

After a pair of losses at No. 4 to Zarena Jafry, sophomore Katie Manternach (Brooklyn, N.Y.) moved to No. 5 this time around against Tufts and defeated the Jumbos' Catherine Shanahan 3-1 (11-6, 14-12, 7-11, 11-7) to clinch the match for Bates. Since returning to the team this January, Manternach has posted a win-loss record of 10-6. 

Junior three-time first team All-NESCAC selection Luca Polgar (Budapest, Hungary) defeated Tufts' Claire Davidson for the third time this season at the No. 1 position. Polgar has never lost to an opponent from Tufts and is 5-0 all-time against Davidson. On Sunday, Polgar won 3-1 (11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6) to improve her personal record to 18-2 this season. 

With the win, the women's squash team wraps up its fourth straight winning season. Over the last four years, the Bobcats have won the Walker Cup (C Division) title three times. And the one year (2016-17) they did not win the Walker Cup, they were competing for the Kurtz Cup (B Division) where they finished 15th in the country.

Select Bobcats will compete at individual nationals starting February 28 on the campus of Brown University.    

No. 19 Bates 6, No. 17 Tufts 3 (Walker Cup final)
Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019 at Trinity College

1. Luca Polgar (BAT) def. Claire Davidson (TU) 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6
2. Kristyna Alexova (BAT) def. Julie Yeung (TU) 11-5, 11-6, 11-4
3. Vicky Arjoon (BAT) def. Megan Chen (TU) 11-2, 12-10, 11-2
4. Zarena Jafry (TU) def. Maeve O'Brien (BAT) 11-4, 11-3, 6-11, 5-11, 11-2
5. Katie Manternach (BAT) def. Catherine Shanahan (TU) 11-6, 14-12, 7-11, 11-7  
6. Natasha Jones (BAT) def. Rachel Windreich (TU) 5-11, 9-11, 14-12, 12-10, 11-9
7. Diya Sanghi (TU) def. Molly Brooks (BAT) 11-6, 11-7, 11-4
8. Chloe Kantor (TU) def. Natalie Bachman (BAT) 11-5, 11-6, 11-4
9. Katie Bull (BAT) def. Christa Irani (TU) 11-7, 11-6, 14-12