Squash tests lineup in weekend losses to Trinity, Princeton

Media Credit: Matt Dynes | Staff Photographer

Senior Ginger Sands swings at a ball during a women's squash game against Trinity Saturday.

Men’s and women’s squash opened their regular season play this weekend facing off against two of the highest-ranked opponents they are set to compete against this year.

Both sides hosted Trinity – the No. 1 nationally ranked men’s team and the No. 3 ranked women’s team – and Princeton – the No. 8 ranked team for men and No. 4 for women.

Trinity swept the men 9–0 and defeated the women 8–1 Saturday. Against Princeton, the men’s team fell 6–3 and the women’s team lost all nine matchups Sunday.

The Colonials, who are ranked No. 11 on the men’s side and No. 12 on the women’s side, came into the matches looking to serve an upset to their higher-ranked opponents, head coach Wendy Lawrence said.

“I would be crazy to say we’re not looking for a major upset on either side,” Lawrence said. “But if that doesn’t happen to be the outcome then we’re looking to really get some money in the bank for experience and exposure.”

Senior Ginger Sands pulled out the sole GW victory against Trinity, winning three straight games in a match against Bantams freshman Campbell Brown.

Matt Dynes | Staff Photographer

Sophomore Juan Sebastian Laguna swings at a ball during a men’s squash game against Trinity Saturday.

On the men’s side, the strong play from freshman Mohammad Alterki was a bright spot for the team despite the loss. The Mishref, Kuwait native competed against Trinity junior Thoboki Mohohlo, a former professional squash player from South Africa, losing 3–2 in a tight match.

“Our No. 1, who’s 18 years old and a freshman, goes to five with a former pro player, the No. 1 for Trinity, so that was an incredible match,” Lawrence said. “He was completely pumped at the end of that match. If nothing else, it just makes him aware he can do anything.”

On Sunday, both teams shifted their attention to Princeton teams with strong returning cores. The men viewed the day as a chance to move up in the rankings to get into the A-group of collegiate squash, senior Oisin Logan said.

The men stayed competitive throughout the day, taking six of the nine matches to four games and securing wins at the No. 3, 4 and 7 positions.

The women concluded weekend action with a 9–0 loss to Princeton but were able to push two of the nine matches to four games.

Lawrence – who coaches both teams – said the weekend’s matches were important learning experiences for both rosters.

“I think it was a map for us moving forward,” Lawrence said. “If you make the slightest mistakes they will eat you alive with them.”

The games were the first time that this year’s teams got a meaningful look at how their freshmen were adjusting to Division I play. Both rosters were shaken up this year as the women welcomed six new players in the offseason and the men’s side brought in five.

“They’ve integrated really well,” Logan said. “There’s not a lot of cliques which is great, and they’ve all been developing really well.”

The women’s team’s co-captain, senior Mary Jo Mahfood, said the team’s exhibition wins against Navy Junior Varsity last weekend gave the freshmen a feeling of self-confidence, preparing for their first regular-season games.

“Going into that exhibition match against the Navy JV team was definitely a huge accomplishment for them,” Mahfood said. “It just showed how hard we’ve been working all season and I think it gave us a confidence boost.”

As both sides move on from this weekend, Mahfood said their love of squash and team chemistry, above all else, will be vital for success in the future.

“We each love it so much, so I think once we get together as a collective that love for the game will really help us accomplish so much more,” Mahfood said.

The Colonials return to action against Virginia Nov. 28 in the Lerner Health and Wellness Center. The women’s team is set to play at 4 p.m. and the men’s team at 6 p.m.

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