Men’s squash wants to maintain its high level of play and break into the top eight teams in the College Squash Association, while the women’s team hopes to use the season as a fresh start.
The men’s team took home a CSA Hoehn Cup (B Division) last season, and the women ended the season with a disappointing high ranking. Heading into this season, the men said they want to continue their upward trajectory, and the women said they are embracing a new year with new players and without injury.
Men’s squash notched a winning record of 13–12 last season and grabbed the CSA Hoehn Cup (B Division) for the second consecutive year, finishing the season ranked a program-high No. 9. Head coach Anderson Good said the team wants to maintain its high rankings and earn a program-best finish.
“It’s mainly been keep clawing our way back up because the men’s team, since I’ve been here, has never went down in the rankings and we’re just trending upward and that’s the most important thing,” he said.
The men’s team has positioned itself in a good spot to meet its goals, entering the preseason ranked No. 8 – the highest preseason ranking in program history.
Good said he favors the “don’t fix something that isn’t broken” mentality for the men’s team and has opted to keep its training regimen similar to last season’s. The squad emphasized fitness and discipline last year.
The squad lost its senior captain duo Julian Jervis and Moudy Abdel-Maksoud to graduation last season. Good pointed to co-captains and juniors Salim Khan and Inaki De Larrauri, junior Mohammad Alterki and seniors Jamie Oakley and Juan Sebastian Laguna to step up and guide the team by example, he said.
“They’ve been around teams that operate very well, and they know what it takes to work well as a unit,” Good said.
Freshman Rohan Bagli, Ian Blatchford, Moustafa Montaser, Karim Thabet and David Varela joined the men’s team this season. Alterki said the slew of new players has seamlessly fit into the team both on and off the court.
“We are becoming more cohesive as a team outside the court,” Alterki said. “We’re just discerning where everyone falls into our new ladder, and we are really excited to start the season.”
He said for the Colonials to meet their goal of finishing in the A Division, which houses the top eight teams, they need to remain fortified physically and mentally.
“We’d have to have a very strong team, not just squash-wise, but fitness-wise, mentally,” he said. “The team has to be very strong to compete with those top teams, so we’re working on those three aspects.”
On the women’s side, one word sums up the team’s new philosophy: new. Good said the team will only look ahead to its new head coach, new players and new opportunities the season offers them.
“They really bought into it, and the attitude at the courts day in and day out has just been terrific,” Good said. “We had some injury problems last year, and by the end of the year, the group was pretty beaten down, and there’s been a very enjoyable boost of energy this year.”
Women’s squash had a tough season last year, finishing 5–15. The squad ended the season No. 15 in the nation, one spot up from its No. 14 finish the year before. This season, the squad holds the preseason ranking of 15th.
Freshmen Sasha Hinckley and Aariya Patel and sophomore Nikki Pang were added to the Colonials’ roster this season. Junior Zoe Foo Yuk Han said the trio have acclimated to the team and have honed in their skills, creating competition for sports on the ladder.
“They definitely raise the energy level up and also the squash skills,” Foo Yuk Han said.
This season, the team will be without one of its 2018-19 co-captains, Brooke Feldman, who finished out her final season with three back-to-back wins. Foo Yuk Han said although Feldman is no longer with the team, she still acts as her mentor and has helped her develop as a leader in practice and off the court.
“Just trying to get the girls mentally focused and physically there and ready to train,” she said. “And then put that into the squash when we’re playing matches. I think that and also communication.”
She added that Good implemented a fitness plan for the team to follow throughout the summer, and he called on the team to hold one another accountable. She said the first two weeks of practices were dedicated to fitness, and while the team was “really aching and really sore,” the team is in a better position because of it.
“Everything’s just new, so we’re really coming in with a mental set of ‘everything’s going to be a fresh start, throw everything off in the past, moving on to the future and always looking ahead,’” Foo Yuk Han said.
The men’s and women’s teams will hit the court for the first time this season against Georgetown Friday at 6 p.m.