US SQUASH

National Capital Aces Lift Howe Cup on Home Turf

NSC Aces (l-r): AJ Copeland, Alejandra Porras, Chanel Erasmus, Margaret Gerety, Larissa Stephenson, Anna Porras. (image: Heidi Wagner)

The 2017 U.S. Women’s Team Championships (Howe Cup) presented by Squash on Fire saw D.C.’s-own National Capital Squash Aces life the Howe Cup in the first edition of the tournament ever hosted in Washington, D.C. this weekend.

The eighty-fourth edition of the tournament involved a record 290 players on fifty-eight teams. The Howe Cup brings women of all ages and skill levels from across the U.S. and Canada together for a fun, inclusive weekend of squash with four Skill levels titles available–divisions A-D.

Juniors from five NUSEA programs took part in mentorships by teaming up with adults from their respective cities.

D.C. has produced eight teams to compete on home soil, while there was record representation from Canada (six teams), Seattle (five teams), California (three teams) and Minnesota (two teams).

Eleven teams competed for the Howe Cup in the A division, but none could take a match off of the top-seeded NCS Aces as the locals stormed to National Capital’s first Howe Cup since 2014. The A division produced its first finalists from California after The Ladies of The Olympic Club upset both the two and three seeds to reach the final.

“This year everything just clicked,” said Chanel Erasmus, a member of the NCS Aces. “From the beginning we said this is going to be our year and it’s time to bring the cup home. Not one of us wanted to let each other down which also meant that we didn’t drop a single game all weekend. We won this for each other, for AJ [Copeland] and Mona [Butterfield] and for D.C. Squash.”

Erasmus has played for a National Capital Squash team for the past three Howe Cups since graduating from Trinity.

“There is nothing quite like the energy that comes with having almost 300 women, competing and battling it out to be crowned Howe cup champions,” Erasmus said. “The energy is palpable, there is an overwhelming sense of camaraderie, pride and incredible girl power. It’s a truly amazing weekend to be a part of.”

Bostonians claimed both the B and C division titles. In division B, the Boston Un-B-Lievables upset top seeds National Capital Squash in the first round and went on to defeat the Chicago Griffins in a close 3-2 final. The Boston C Party defeated first-time  finalists from Virginia, C’Ville Love, in the division C final.

In the D division, the Philly One Hit Wonders were true to their name, winning Philadelphia’s sole title of the weekend and also Philadelphia’s first division D title in tournament history.

The tournament marked the first national championship hosted by D.C.’s newest venue, Squash on Fire.

“That venue is on fire!” Erasmus added. “I love the modern feel it has. It’s definitely the future of squash clubs. It was a lot of fun playing on their courts.”

View all results on the Howe Cup tournament page.

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