Share Button

Women’s squash and basketball teams turn in strong performances.

By Noel Hynd

Sometimes certain victories or athletic accomplishments stand out simply because they’ve never happened before. Such was the case in January when the Penn women’s squash team clashed with our friends from a certain other Ivy League university located in central New Jersey. In the 24 years that Penn’s program has been in existence, the women’s team had never beaten Princeton—until this year.
   But nothing is ever easy the first time.
   Playing in Philadelphia at the Gimbel Gym courts, Penn (6-0, 4-0 Ivy League at this writing) took a quick 3-0 lead as senior Katie Patrick won 3-1 at the No. 2 position, junior Helen Bamber won 3-0 at No. 4 and sophomore Chrissy Eynon won 3-0 at the No. 8 position.
    Princeton (5-1, 2-1 at this writing) got on the scoreboard when Emily Eynon (sister of Penn’s Chrissy) rallied from a 2-1 deficit for a 3-2 win over junior Megan Fuller at the No. 6 position. Senior Patti Lin then earned a 3-0 victory at the No. 9 position to give Penn a nice-looking 4-1 advantage. The match was by no means salted away, however.
   Princeton won the next two matches as Tiger senior Blair Irwin defeated Penn junior Rina Borromeo and sophomore Courtenay Green beat senior Paige Kollock, both by 3-0 scores. Princeton had closed to within one, 4-3. But the number 1 and 5 positions were still on court to decide the match. 
   Princeton junior Julia Beaver, a two-time All-American and the defending national champion, defeated Penn freshman Runa Reta 3-1 in the No. 1 position, tying the match at four and leaving the contest in the hands—or wrists—of Penn Junior Lauren Patrizio.
   Patrizio was leaning in the final match, 2-0, when the Beaver-Reta contest ended. As her teammates cheered her on, Patrizio—a 1999 All American playing in just her second match after missing the first half of the season with a knee injury—closed out her pairing with a 9-4 victory in the third game, sealing the Penn women’s squash team’s first-ever defeat of their Tigertown rivals in a quarter century of play. No small accomplishment.
   “This is a well-deserved win for our program,” said eighth-year Penn head coach Demer Holleran, a four-year All-American at Princeton, speaking of the win over her alma mater. “The experience of the seven upperclassmen made a difference in a tight match like tonight’s.” 
   The win also left the team ranked first in the Ivy League and looking ahead to a Feb. 12 match at Harvard (ranked second in the Ivies). The Harvard match (which takes place after the Gazette goes to press) should determine the Ivy title. The Crimson are the defending Ivy champions and have won seven of the last eight league crowns.
    In the last issue, I wrote about Penn’s women’s basketball team and their shot at an Ivy title. Occasionally, I seem to know what I’m talking about—and, to judge by the season so far, this would appear to be one of those times. As of the end of January, the Quakers improved to 12-5 overall with three wins in one very successful week. Included were Ivy victories over Columbia and Cornell, which left Penn tied for the Ivy League lead with Harvard at 3-0. The Quakers’ victory over Cornell tied the Penn women’s basketball record for consecutive home wins with six straight and a 6-1 record at the Palestra this season.
    Junior forward Diana Caramanico was named the Ivy League Player of the Week after recording 67 points and 45 rebounds in the three Penn wins. She tied her career-high with 19 rebounds against Columbia and then returned on Saturday to record a new career mark with 20 boards against Cornell.
    After disposing of the New York schools, Caramanico, a preseason All-American, was 116 points shy of breaking Kirsten Brendel’s Penn career scoring record of 1,656 points.
    Caramanico was averaging 25.1 points per game, which was good for first in the Ivy League and the Big 5, and second in NCAA Division I. After the incredible rebounding performances against Columbia and Cornell, she was averaging 11.7 rebounds per game, which was also good for first 
in both leagues.
    It is, by the way, a great year to have such an excellent women’s basketball squad in Philadelphia. The NCAA Women’s Final Four will play in Philadelphia at the First Union Center on the weekend of March 31-April 2. Penn and St. Joseph’s University are the host institutions. 
    The women’s final four has been gaining in well-deserved media and public attention over the last few years. There will be free clinics and free practice sessions open to the public. Philadelphia is the first city in the Northeast to host the NCAA Women’s Basketball Finals since 1982, when the NCAA took over the event from the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.
    A final basketball note, this time men’s: If you check out a Chicago Bulls box score this season and see the name Maloney, that would be Matt C’95, formerly of the Houston Rockets and, obviously, also formerly of Penn.

— Noel Hynd C’70 writes on sports for the Gazette.

Share Button

    Related Posts

    Tiger Food
    A Winter Without Basketball
    Padilla Power

    Leave a Reply