Both the men’s and women’s squash teams began their ninth season of existence as a Division I sport Friday night, hoping to repeat the success they each had last season, when both teams were ranked among the top 20 teams in the country.
Both teams seemingly picked up where they left off last season, dominating Georgetown 9-0 at home in both the men’s and women’s contests. The Hoyas proved to be no match for the Colonials, who lost only one set out of 28 in both the men’s and women’s competitions.
Coming off a season in which it ranked as high as 17th in the country, the women’s squash team (1-0) has a new look with a slew of new players and a new head coach, Wendy Lawrence, who took over coaching the women’s team in addition to her duties as the men’s team’s head coach.
“We have a lot of depth this year,” women’s team captain Lauren Mathieu said. “We have six new freshman who all play at a very high level.”
The men’s squash team (1-0) is not without its own fresh faces. Headlining the newcomers for GW on the men’s side is sophomore Islam El-Fiky, a transfer from the American University in Cairo and a member of the world No. 1 ranked Egyptian Junior National Squash Team. The addition of El-Fiky, who is the 165th ranked player in the world, has been exciting for his new teammates.
“We are feeling pretty comfortable going into this season,” explained senior captain Mike Bower. “Islam El-Fiky will be huge. He’s an amazing player and a great addition to this team.”
El-Fiky’s arrival has also been encouraging for Lawrence.
“Islam El-Fiky coming to GW marks an amazing success for this program,” she said.
After opening the season with sweeps over the Hoyas, the Colonials seem prepared to continue the program’s rise in the collegiate squash rankings. Lawrence said she expected a modest jump in the rankings for both of her teams.
“In my wildest hopes and dreams, both teams are near the very top of the rankings,” Lawrence said. “[For the women,] I think we’ll end the season ranked somewhere between 16 and 14. Realistically, I think the men’s team will move up somewhere around 16 or 17.”
For Bower, his team’s potential this season is rooted in its dedication.
“We are as focused as ever,” Bower said. “We all know the type of team that we can be. If we are determined, then we will have the success that we all want for this season.”
Number Crunch: 4
The number of games the volleyball team has lost since having its five-game winning streak snapped a week ago.