11-5 squash team on course to post first winning season in a decade

By EMILY BARY ’14

Co-Editor in Chief

In the past, squash coach Wendy Berry scoured her physical education classes and first-year recreation programs for potential new additions to the squash team. Once she found promising students who were interested, she would often have to teach them the sport from the beginning.

But coming into this season, Berry recruited better, so she added five first-years to the squad who had already played the sport before.

The more experienced roster gave Wellesley squash much-needed depth. Berry and her players credit strength in the bottom half of the lineup for the team’s Seven Sisters victory in late January. The Blue took home their first Seven Sisters title in over a decade, after topping rival Mount Holyoke, the defending champions. Wellesley picked up clutch wins from Gabriella Wynne ’16 at fifth singles, Rhea Advani ’17 at sixth singles, Kate Loftus ’16 at eighth singles and Ruby Feng ’17 at ninth singles to take the match 6-3. This marked the first time Wellesley had defeated Mount Holyoke since 2004.

“We’re still on cloud nine,” Berry said. “For me, this is seven years of hard work that has come to fruition.”

Wellesley also appears poised to record its first winning season since 2002-2003. The team boasts an 11-5 record with five matches left this year.

“This is the best season squash has had in a very long time,” Sarah Tammaro ’15 said. “Our big team goal was to beat Mount Holyoke and when we did, that was huge.”

This past weekend, Wellesley sent three players to the College Squash Association (CSA) Division III individual tournament. Sara Del Balzo ’14 picked up a win and Meera Nayar ’17 went 2-2 on the weekend.

The team’s top player, Rosemary O’Connor ’14, injured her arm at the end of her final Seven Sisters match and was unable to compete in the tournament.

Squash is not an NCAA sport, but Wellesley is one of 44 schools nationwide that offer squash at the varsity or club level and compete in the CSA.

Unlike many of its competitors, Wellesley doesn’t have regulation squash courts on campus, so team members wake up at 5:30 a.m. during the season to travel to the Dana Hall School in Wellesley for practices.

“It’s very tricky for a number of reasons,” Tammaro said. “It’s very hard to entice recruits, it’s impossible to practice in the afternoons and we can’t have support at our matches because they aren’t on campus.”

Wellesley has its only two “home” matches of the season upcoming, with a Feb. 15 contest against Northeastern and a Feb. 17 match against Boston College. The Blue took down Northeastern 8-1 and Boston College 9-0 earlier in the season.

The team will then compete in the national tournament beginning Feb. 21 at Princeton.

“We hope to beat Holyoke again at Nationals and beat Colby again because they’re right below us,” Advani said.

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