Boys and Girls Varsity Squash rally together for NYSAIS

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Ceci Coughlin and Sofia Kim

The Boys and Girls Varsity Squash teams competed in the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) quarterfinals on Monday. The boys team won against Packer Collegiate Institute with a score of 4-3, and the girls team lost against Rye Country Day School (RCDS) with a score of 6-1 in the quarterfinals. On Wednesday, the boys team went on to play in the semifinals, losing to Hackley with a score of 5-2.

In the quarterfinal match, several players stepped up, which ultimately led to the boys’ victory, Marcus Lee (11) said. Though all of the players lost in their first game, they were able to come back to win the second one, and then use their momentum to win most of the third games, resulting in the 4-3 victory for the team, William Bramwell (11) said. Additionally, the boys team coach, Ronnie Beller, checked in on the players throughout the meet, offering encouraging advice and support, Lee said. 

The quarterfinals were a thriller, Beller said. “Will Bramwell was very composed and very determined, and he was able to win his [final] match which allowed us to advance to the second round of the NYSAIS playoffs,” he said. “The kids were going crazy; they were cheering for each other, they were playing for each other, and they were really, really enthusiastic.”

Justin Scherer (12) was a standout player throughout his game, especially when he came back to win after being down 8-2, Bramwell said. During a particularly memorable point, Scherer saved a ball from the ground while his opponent thought the point had already ended. “When Justin got up and took the point, it really shocked his opponent.” Additionally, it was also exciting when Bramwell won the deciding match that gave the Lions the win because everything had come down to that moment, Bramwell said.

What stood out the most to Beller was the Lions ability to play as a team, Beller said. After the team’s top two players were defeated, the bottom half of the roster stepped up and helped the Lions advance to the semifinals, he said. “It was great to see the whole program really come together and rally behind their teammates.”

Despite the girls team’s loss, the team played well overall with many of the players hitting strong serves and continuing rallies, Ria Chowdhry (12) said. Because the team went into the match knowing RCDS had strong players, it was important to stay positive and not be defeated by the results of the meet. 

The team’s less experienced players played great games and worked extremely hard throughout the season, Mira Bansal (10) said. Additionally, Chowdhry was a standout player, going all out to win her last game, Ashley Scherer (10) said. 

The girls team did not feel as much pressure during this match because they had already played RCDS twice, so they felt comfortable on the courts, Scherer said. 

The team dynamic was also quite different from the previous years, with a mix of newer and less experienced players and competitive players, Chowdry said. As a result, the team focused on staying consistent with their shots and not making careless mistakes that could cost them their game, she said. It was also important for the team to have fun on the court and give it their all for the last game, Scherer said. 

Regardless of the NYSAIS results, Lee feels that the team has already had a successful season. Additionally, not only did they end the season with a winning record, but they became a close knit team during the season, Bramwell said. “When I had heard the squash team was called a family, I didn’t think a sports team could be that close, but I was very happy to be proven wrong,” he said. 

Beller also looks forward to the future of the team, he said.  “We were a very young team this year but we were able to do really well with a 9-6 record,” Beller said. “We finished top three in the Ivy [Preparatory] League and we finished top four in the NYSAIS,” he said. Next year, the goal is to eventually win the Ivy Preparatory League, he said.