Squash seniors round out final season with pair of victories

Media Credit: Hadley Chittum | Hatchet Photographer

Senior Abby Shonrock swings to return a ball during a women's squash game against Middlebury Saturday.

With a combined 81 team wins under their belt, seniors on men’s and women’s squash have experienced the ups and downs of two of GW’s most nationally competitive programs.

This year, the three four-year men’s players matched the best regular season slate of their career and helped the team creep into the College Squash Association’s top 10. The three women’s players – who have seen a steady decrease in team victories every year since they arrived – helped a young Colonials team win four consecutive games in January and nine total matchups.

On Saturday, when both squads hosted Middlebury in the afternoon, the six veterans played their final home game and were honored before the game for their contributions to the programs. All but one of them earned victories in the outing en route to team victories for both programs.

No. 14 women’s squash (9-7) defeated the Panthers 7–2 and No. 11 men’s squash (12-6) swept the event in a 9–0 victory at home.

“The seniors have been the backbone to our team success,” freshman Zoe Foo Yuk Han said. “I hope to one day be able to carry their footsteps and be as successful as them when I am a senior.”

With both teams coming off matches at Drexel Friday, head coach Wendy Lawrence said she was proud of her players for stepping up the next day – despite traveling back to Foggy Bottom late at night.

“They really rose to the challenge on both sides,” Lawrence said.

Hadley Chittum | Hatchet Photographer

Senior Oisin Logan cries as men’s and women’s squash head coach Wendy Lawrence talks about her seniors before they play their last home match against Middlebury Saturday.

On the women’s side, the Colonials were coming off of a 6–3 loss to Drexel Friday. Middlebury – which is ranked No. 15, one below GW – made for tough competition Saturday, Lawrence said.

“They’re always hungry to try to knock us off,” Lawrence said. “We held our ground really well with seven teams, so that was a pretty decisive win to keep them from moving up.”

Seniors Mary Jo Mahfood and Abby Shonrock both won their individual matches, while senior Ginger Sands dropped hers 3–1. Foo Yuk Han competed at the top of the ladder against both Drexel and Middlebury – splitting her weekend results.

Lawrence said players like captains Mahfood and Shonrock have served important roles in influencing her youth-filled roster – a luxury she likely will not have next year.

“We have five freshman women and only one senior on the women’s side,” Lawrence said. “So we’re losing a lot of maturity and a lot of our wisdom.”

For the men, Saturday’s victory extended the team’s winning streak to four matches after defeating Drexel 6–3 Friday. Seniors Oisin Logan, Billy Berner and Omar Mussehl each won their individual matches over the weekend.

Logan, who leads GW with 13 individual wins and just four losses on the year, has anchored the top of the Colonial lineup since he arrived in D.C. But Berner and Mussehl have also served in leadership roles for multiple years, despite rounding out the bottom portion of GW’s ladder.

“Half the freshmen are better than me, so I’m not really coaching them on that aspect,” Berner said. “I’m trying to just help them out with the mental aspect rather than actually on the court.”

Lawrence said the seniors’ direction on both teams has gone beyond the classroom and been essential for their young international members.

The class of seniors on the men’s team, which initially started out with six members, has grown closer over the last four years, Logan said.

Looking back at his time on the team, Berner said the time and effort he’s put into the team made him appreciate what hard work is.

“It’s been a great ride,” Berner said. “It’s been great working with these guys.”

With nationals four days away for the women and almost two weeks away for the men, players said the goal for both teams is to remain healthy.

“With this flu going around and end of the season people are beat up, their bodies are pretty stressed out,” Lawrence said.

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