Men’s and women’s squash, both nationally ranked programs, opened four-game homestands this weekend with hopes of gaining some ground with less than a month until College Squash Association Team Nationals.
This Saturday on the Grossman Squash Courts at Lerner Health and Wellness Center, the No. 14 men’s team fell short to No. 8 Yale, 7-2. The No. 12 women’s team was defeated by No. 5 Yale, 9-0.
Despite the losing results, head coach Wendy Lawrence said she and the team took away positives from going up against elite Bulldogs squads.
“Yale is a top team on both the men’s and the women’s side, so every bit of training we do is to play these matches at the highest level,” Lawrence said. “These are the matches that help us improve the most and see where we have to go to become a top-ranking team.”
The men’s side (4-6) challenged the Bulldogs all afternoon. Junior Oisin Logan and senior Andres de Frutos both won their matches, but it wasn’t enough to put the Colonials on top against the defending CSA National Champion, who won 7-2.
Logan earned his sixth win of the season with his decision over the Yale’s Kah Wah Cheong in four games at the No. 2 spot. Logan won the first game 12-10, fell to Cheong in the second and won the last two games by scores of 11-9 and 11-8.
Logan and De Frutos, who won at No. 4 in four sets, are now tied for the team lead with six wins on the year.
Freshman Jamie Oakley kept it close at No. 1 on the ladder, dropping his match to Yale’s Spencer Lovejoy in the only five-set contest of the day.
The men’s team entered Saturday coming off a hard-fought victory at then-No. 10 Cornell, but had lost five of its previous seven.
“It was a great time for us to play a team like Yale because it just pushes us harder and harder,” Lawrence said.
On the women’s side, the Bulldogs won all nine matches, but the Colonials did not go down without a fight. At No. 1, senior Breanne Flynn fell in an 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 decision against Jenny Scherl.
Flynn – who leads GW with a personal 7-3 record on the season – said the team did training and fitness work throughout the week but aimed to have fun once they were out on the court.
“We knew Yale was ranked a lot higher than us, so we just wanted to go point by point and try to win,” Flynn said.
Freshman Engy El Mandouh battled into extra points in two of her three games at No. 2, but she fell to Lucy Beecroft at by scores of 16-14, 11-6, 12-10. Fellow rookie Emma Tryon also played well but was unable to get past Shiyuan Mao at No. 4, losing 11-5, 11-5, 11-8.
“[The freshmen] have made the adjustment to college squash very quickly, which is not usually the case,” Lawrence said.
As the teams near the end of their seasons, only four matches remain until the CSA National Championship.
Last year, the men’s team made their first-ever appearance in the Hoehn Cup (B-Division), and the women’s team fell out of the Howe Cup (A-Division) division mainly due to injuries that plagued three of the team’s top 10 players.
In addition to improving on-court performance, Lawrence is intent on getting both teams to the postseason injury-free by focusing more on conditioning and flexibility.
The Colonials are back in action this week, hosting Virginia Tuesday at 4 p.m. and Franklin & Marshall Saturday at 1 p.m.