‘The Howe Cup is the United States’ largest squash event for women and an annual team championship tournament run by US Squash. The annual women’s five-person team tournament began in 1928 as an inter-city competition between New York, Philadelphia and Boston. It received the Howe Cup title in 1955 when Virginia Griggs of New York City donated a permanent trophy, the Howe Cup, named in honor of Margaret Howe and her twin daughters Peggy and Betty.’ ~USSquash.com
This year the tournament was held in Philadelphia, with teams from across the country and Canada competing. Philadelphia native and founder of the Bay Area’s Squash Drive Lauren Patrizio Xaba played in the A division for one of the Philly teams, the Philly Tasteykates. The competition was fierce in the top division, with another home team, the Philly Phab Phive, ultimately taking the title.
The B division was an equally tight race, with Courtney Sabo at the helm of the Boasting Bellas. This all California team played spectacularly, and brought the title back home to the west coast. Congratulations to Courtney Sabo (Bay Club San Francisco), Juliet Lamont (the University Club), Sara Barrett (Bay Club San Francisco), Rohini Gupta (Bay Club San Francisco), and Emilie van der Hoorn (University California San Francisco) on a great win!
Usually a strong team, this years California C team was plagued by injuries leading up to the tournament. Unable to field a full team Carrie Kahn and Kelly McKinley (both University California San Francisco) joined with several Canadian players to form the international Golden Canucks. Despite great games and tight matches, the team was knocked out in the quarter finals.
Finally, the D division saw Amanda Chew (Bay Club San Francisco) play for the New York Scared Hitless. Though the name suggests otherwise the team was calm, collected, and made it all the way from the round of 32 to the quarter finals before loosing to Chicago, who ended up winning the division.
In addition to the tournament, the players were treated to an exhibition match between Olivia Fiechter and Olivia Blatchford-Clyne. Despite knowing each other since they were juniors in highschool this is the first time the Olivia’s have battled it out on the court. Fiechter had home court advantage, but Blatchford-Clyne’s experience and patience paid off with a 3-0 victory. The matches were followed by a brief Q and A session, during which we all gained some great tips and insights. Blatchford-Clyne stressed the importance of a good warmup while Fiechter focused on nutrition as key to her performance. When asked about pre-match routines, Blatchford-Clyne admitted to her love of long hot showers before a game to clear her head. Fiechter on the other hand prefers the more horizontal approach of napping. It was an inspiring way to start off the tournament, and everyone did a great job channeling their inner Olivia’s both on and off the court.