Although sports fans usually associate the thrill of winter sports with basketball and hockey, squash offers the same excitement. Wellesley’s squash team is the school’s only sport where they play opponents from large, historically Division I colleges and universities such as Boston College, Stanford and Harvard. But, Wellesley Squash also has a strong history in competition among Division 3 rivals such as Mount Holyoke, MIT and Tufts.
Last year, Blue Squash had a winning record of 13- 11 and lost in the College Squash Association (CSA) championships to Amherst, St. Lawrence and University of Virginia. Blue Squash also has most of last year’s team returning to improve their record this year, having only graduated one senior this past spring. This year, Blue Squash is already catching national attention from the CSA and college squash fans. The CSA ranked Wellesley 23rd in the nation, just behind Wesleyan University and St. Lawrence. Harvard took the top spot in the polls having lost only one match last year.
This season, Blue Squash has won two home matches 8-1 against Boston College and Seven Sisters rival Mount Holyoke, making them undefeated so far. During the past two seasons, Blue Squash has had strong showings at home matches, which are played at Dana Hall School, just over a mile from campus. Last season, the Blue were undefeated at home and hope to continue that streak this year.
This Saturday’s Mount Holyoke match highlighted sophomore Sarah Zhang’s opening match against Mount Holyoke’s Brandy Williamson. Zhang won three sets in a row after having lost the first set. This match showed how a small falter at the start could give a player enough motivation to come back and sweep the rest of the match, as Zhang demonstrated on Saturday. Zhang’s victory set the standard for the rest of the match, as matches 2-8 were dominated by Wellesley Squash. The Blue did not lose a single set in the middle seven matches, making their goal for a third consecutive Seven Sisters title seem very achievable. Navisha Gupta ‘17 describes Saturday’s meet against Mount Holyoke as “the best victory we have had against Mount Holyoke with a score of 8-1. Everyone played their hearts out and we hope to repeat this when we see Mount Holyoke again later this season.” Meera Nayer ‘17 also described Saturday’s victory as “a full team effort. we were determined to win using what we were working hard on in practice every day and it showed in the match.”
Based on their successes in the matches against Boston College and Mount Holyoke, two players to watch closely this season are sophomores Sarah Zhang and Phyllis Lin. The two top-ranked sophomores on the team swept their opponents from Boston College and nearly swept their opponents from Mount Holyoke. This Friday, Blue Squash will face Stanford University at Harvard at 5 p.m. Stanford is ranked ninth in the country, so a Blue upset would give Wellesley Squash more recognition on a national scale. Blue Squash has never faced Stanford before, and they will appreciate all the support they can get from Blue Nation.