Top GW sports moments: Women’s squash secures lowest national finish

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo

The team that year secured a Chaffee Award for the first time since 2008, a distinction given to teams that exemplify “sportsmanship, teamwork, character and improvement.”

In lieu of fall sports, we’re dusting off the history books and taking a look back on 10 of the best GW sports moments, ever. Here’s to hoping some old-fashioned nostalgia can keep us going until the restart.

No. 2: Women’s squash nabs lowest finish in program history

A year after winning the Kurtz Cup in 2014 for the first time, the women’s squash squad secured a No. 7 national finish.

The ranking was the lowest any team had achieved on the men’s or women’s side in the program’s history. The squad was led by then-junior Anna Gabriela Porras, who earned 11 wins at the No. 1 spot and notched her third straight College Squash Association All-American honor that season.

The Colonials had been on the rise for the three previous seasons before nabbing its first Kurtz Cup in 2014. The squad shifted its focus on breaking into the coveted A-Division, which houses the top-eight teams in the nation.

Riding its postseason success, the squad entered the 2014-15 season ranked No. 8, the highest postseason ranking the program had ever seen. The Colonials burst into the season with a 9–0 win over Georgetown.

The squad then faced its first ranked opponents in No. 6 Cornell and No. 7 Stanford. Cornell bested and Stanford topped GW in a doubleheader. Another loss to No. 5 Princeton closed out the first half of the squad’s schedule. The team entered the winter break 2-3 and riding a three-game losing streak.

The Colonials began the new year with three games in as many days. The squad started the trip hot, beating Bates College 8–1 but losing to No. 3 Penn the next day. The Colonials regrouped for a rematch with Stanford to cap its trip.

The Colonials completed the upset, narrowly besting the Cardinals on their home court. Then-senior Alejandra Porras and then-freshman Lindsey Dewey were the difference-makers for the Colonials, nabbing wins in four games, respectively. The victory bumped the team’s ranking from No. 8 to No. 7.

GW picked up a pair of wins, extending its win streak to three games, before running into No. 10 Dartmouth. The Big Green and Colonials battled, exchanging match victories until the two were tied at four apiece. With the win riding on the No. 4 matchup, Tan dropped her first game but bounced back to secure the second.

Up 8–7 in game three, Tan sustained an injury, forcing her to forfeit the match. Dartmouth was awarded the victory, and the upset pushed the team back to No. 8 nationally. With Tan sidelined, the middle of the ladder shifted for the remainder of the season to absorb her absence at the No. 4 spot.

The squad endured a loss to No. 4 Yale before squaring up with No. 9 Columbia. Then-freshman Mary Jo Mahfood earned a quick win at her new No. 7 spot, helping the team to a win over the Lions. Taking down the Lions was a must-win for the Colonials to secure a spot in the A Division for Nationals, former head coach Wendy Lawrence told The Hatchet after the match.

“We needed to win this match to stay in the A’s,” Lawrence said. “Now, the only way we get bumped down is if some team below us beats a team above us – this match was the only time we had control overstaying in the top eight.”

The victory began a four-match win streak that propelled the team into CSA Team Nationals, where they would face No. 1 Harvard. The Crimson swept GW in each game and match to a spotless 9–0 victory.

A blizzard was set to plow through the Northeast during Team Nationals, which were hosted at Harvard in Boston, Massachusetts. Several teams, including GW, opted to skip the remainder of Nationals to avoid the storm.

As a result, the team forfeited its second match with Yale and did not play the third match. Despite the less than storybook ending to the Colonials’ season, the squad’s efforts were rewarded at the end of the year when it was ranked No. 7 in the nation.

With a 10-7 overall record, the Colonials cemented themselves into the A Division for the first time in program history. The squad was also honored with the Chaffee Award for the first time since 2008, a distinction presented to teams that exemplify “sportsmanship, teamwork, character and improvement.”

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