Men’s squash won the College Squash Association Hoehn Cup (B-Division) for the first time in program history, taking down the Yale Bulldogs Sunday afternoon.
With the win in Hartford, Conn., the Colonials (16-6) also achieved a No. 9 ranking of CSA – the highest in program history.
Head coach Wendy Lawrence said the weekend’s performance was “remarkable” because there were no weak links up and down the GW lineup.
“I have never seen 10 guys all come out and all perform at the very best I have seen them all year, all at once,” Lawrence said. “They all peaked at the same time at Nationals.”
She said the team built up its confidence after falling in close matchups to a few teams during the regular season that players thought they should have won.
“They don’t like to be the underdogs,” Lawrence said. “That set them off, that they thought they had gotten so close that why couldn’t they do it again, but this time actually win it.”
The only other squash championship victory was in the 2011-12 season when GW brought the Summers Cup (C-Division) back to Foggy Bottom.
The Colonials defeated the Bulldogs 6–3 after a victory-clinching win from junior Julian Jervis at the No. 7 spot. Freshman Salim Kahn and sophomore Juan Sabastian Laguna pulled off a tightly contested five-set win in the No. 4 and No. 9 spots respectively.
In January, GW lost to Yale 7–2 to snap its five-game winning streak on the road. Entering the matchup, the Colonials thought it would be a difficult contest because, aside from recent results, Yale has been one of the nation’s top few teams over the past couple years.
“We were a little concerned, but with our philosophy that upsets happen every day,” Lawrence said. “We went in there thinking we had nothing to lose.”
The contest against Yale was the first time GW had reached the finals of the Hoehn Cup.
To reach the finals, the Colonials defeated Cornell on Friday and Western Ontario Saturday. The Big Red were the squad that bounced GW from the tournament last year in the semi-finals.
After splitting the first two sets, the Colonials defeated Cornell 7–2 with wins in spots No. 3 to No. 9.
On Saturday, Western Ontario did not win any matches as GW swept the night 9–0. The top three Colonials players – junior Moudy Abdel-Maksoud, sophomore Jamie Oakley and senior Oisin Logan – each won all games in their matchups.
Despite the clear result, Lawrence said the game against the Canadian school was a big question mark for the Colonials because they did not know what to expect from the players.
She said a large reason for the improved performance was their increased focus outside the squash court.
“They trained really hard every single day at the courts and with Matt Johnson, their strength and conditioning coach,” Lawrence said. “They made a big push to keep their academics under control so that wasn’t a distraction.”
Next weekend, the Colonials will host the CSA Individual Championships for the first time in program history.
Abdel-Maksoud will serve as the automatic bid to the tournament, but Lawrence said she expects at least three to four members of her men’s roster to compete in the event.