For the second straight U.S. Women’s Team Championships, the host city claimed the Howe Cup as the Philly Phab Phive topped division A, while divisions B, C and D were claimed by teams from San Francisco, New York City and Chicago, respectively, at Philadelphia Cricket Club and Germantown Cricket Club.
View all results here.
The eighty-fifth edition of the tournament involved 275 women on teams of five competing for skill level titles in divisions A-D. The fifty-five teams represented eleven states and Canada. Philadelphia produced seventeen teams throughout the four divisions–the most from a host city in Howe Cup History. Boston had the most representation behind the hosts with eight teams traveling from Massachusetts.
The Philly Phab Phive topped pool two with a close 3-2 win over Chicago and a decisive 5-0 win over the Cabernet Canaucks Uncorked. The Philly Phab Phive proved to be a formidable match for the New York Unmatchables in the semifinals, advancing to the final 3-2 courtesy of victories from Katherine Glaser, Tehani Detter and Chanel Erasmus. In the final, the Philadelphians clinched the Howe Cup with a clean slate of five victories against the defending champions–the DC Aces.
“I think it’s fair to say that we all felt really great winning the Howe Cup at home this year,” said Kelsey Engman, the Philly Phab Phive captain. “We had a record number of teams from Philadelphia competing, even three A teams, which was amazing. I have always felt that Philadelphia was one of the best cities in the country for squash in general, but specifically for women. We have so many talented and dedicated women who play in the area, it is such a treat to live and play here.”
In division B, the Boasting Bellas produced San Francisco’s first B title since 2014. The Boasting Bellas fulfilled their top seeding, edging the Boston Queen B’s 3-2 in the semifinals and clinching the title with a decisive 5-0 final victory against the Oui B DC.
The unseeded New York Racqueteers made a surprise run to the division C title. The New Yorkers racqueteered their way past the second-seeded Accelerators to reach the semifinals, where they dispatched the Boston C Party in a close 3-2 match. The Racqueteers came through another narrow match in the final, pulling through 3-2 against the Boston LOBstahs.
The D division included a historic final between two first-time competitors in the form of top seeds Scenic City Rock Bottom–the first Howe Cup Team from Tennessee–and Chicago D1–the first D division team ever fielded by Chicago. It was the Chicagoans who upset the seeding to win Chicago’s first D title 3-2. The D division also included a significant individual landmark as Philly Philly’s Jill Feninger embodied the spirit of the event by recording her first victory in her first competitive tournament at the age of sixty six.
“The Howe Cup atmosphere is always wonderful,” Engman said. “There are women from all over the country–and world really, we had four countries represented on our team. The tournament is made up of a diverse and fabulous group of women. For all of these reasons it’s one of my favorite tournaments to play in. I think the best part of Howe Cup is that you can see how passionate about squash so many women in this country are. They organize, attend, and train for it. It’s a unique tournament and I think we all recognize that. I think I speak for our whole team when I say thanks to all of the women who dedicated their time to the tournament, especially Julie Kessler in Philadelphia, who organized so much and was instrumental in the success of the tournament.”
The Howe Cup, the United States’ largest squash event for women, has a long history. The annual women’s five-person team tournament first began in 1928 as an inter-city competition between New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. Over the past seven years, the Howe Cup has seen more participation than any other U.S. Championship with twenty percent growth.
Event sponsor Revivalist Gin provided bottles to all champions.
View images from the tournament here.