It was Senior Day at the courts, and Cornell squash celebrated its graduating class of six — three women and three men — in a match against Harvard that ended without a single Cornell win.
This graduating class is the first to be coached by head coach David Palmer for its entire time at Cornell. Palmer took on his current role in 2016.
“I’ve known them the longest of anyone on the team,” Palmer said. “I’m happy for them — all six of them have been great team members, very successful.”
Cornell ranks at No. 11 and No. 12 for women and men, respectively, whereas the Harvard men and women are ranked No. 1 in the nation. The Harvard women have not lost a match in five years and have never lost to Cornell, while the men have lost to the Red only twice in 51 total meetings.
Fans filled the court’s limited seating. Cheers, chants and signs littered the audience as fans huddled together to watch the Red. At one point, an eager group of fans banded together to start a chant only to be immediately shushed by a Harvard onlooker citing proper squash etiquette.
Saturday’s biggest match was between sophomore Sivasangari Subramaniam and Harvard’s Gina Kennedy. Leading up to the match, the two went undefeated for the entirety of their respective seasons. They had not faced each other in a match since last season’s individual championships which Kennedy won, making for an intense rematch in Ithaca.
Kennedy prevailed again, breaking Subramaniam’s 12-game winning streak. Nearly each individual match was neck-and-neck, with Subramaniam winning the second of three against Kennedy. But Kennedy maintained an early lead in the deciding match, emerging victorious for the afternoon.
“I knew it was going to be hard, but I tried to stay really positive and give her a good run,” Subramaniam said.
Subramaniam’s win made her one of only three Cornell players across both teams to win a single set against Harvard, with the other two won by senior Madison Miles and junior Mimi deLisser.
Cornell’s men’s team, however, found even less success on the court, losing all 27 matches against Harvard.
But with championships on the horizon, hope is not lost for the season and Palmer remains optimistic.
“We tried to get something out of the hard matches and playing a stronger opponent, so our focus today was trying to stay on court as long as the girls could,” he said. “We’ve been training hard all weekend … We won the [Kurtz] cup last year.”
The women’s team will move on to the College Squash Association’s team national championships at Yale from Feb. 21 to 23. The men’s championship, hosted by Harvard, will take place from Feb. 28 to March 1, followed by individual championships in early March.