Varsity Squash Teams start season strong 

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Madeleine Offit , Contributing Writer

The Boys Varsity Squash team defeated Dalton 7-0 this Monday. The Boys and the Girls Varsity team competed against Hackley on Wednesday; the Boys team lost 3-4 and the Girls team lost 0-7. The Boys’ Dalton victory continues the Lions’ 5-1 season, but the Girl’s loss drops their record to 0-2. 

The boys team began the season very motivated, as it was their first season in three years that has not been hampered by Covid in some way, team member Marcus Lee (12) said. At the beginning of the season, the team set their hopes high, aiming to win all of their games, win the Ivy League, and win the state championship (NYSAIS), he said. 

The team went into the season knowing they would have the strongest team in at least two years, Captain William Bramwell (12) said. In fact, Varsity Squash Head Coach Ron Beller was able to rest their top two players and still win 7-0 against Dalton. “We have a very strong team, and we think we can win the whole thing.”  

Leading up to the Dalton and Hackley matches this week, both teams prepared in practice through challenge matches every three weeks, Girls Varsity Squash Coach Olufemi Salako said. 

Challenge matches are when players of a similar ranking will match up in practice and play against each other. Out of ten total players on the team, seven earn the opportunity to play in Ivy League matches –– “the ranking of these seven players is determined by skill level,” Lee said. These challenge matches can move someone on the team up or down in the team rankings — in order to play above your ranking you must beat the player in front of you in a challenge match. Everyone on the team wants to see who comes out on top, creating a competitive, yet exciting atmosphere. “We’re always excited to play,” Lee said.

A specific moment from the Dalton match that stood out to Beller was when a normally-reserved player stepped into the starting lineup and won his match in his first ever start for the team. “It was just a greuling, grueling match,” Beller said. Nevertheless, the team was extremely successful. “We have a beautiful facility at Sarah Lawrence and we were just happy to be there.”

The girls team didn’t have high expectations going into their Hackley match, since Hackley has a reputation of being the best in the league. “They’re really good at squash,” Leichter said. “We aren’t thrilled with the results but we tried our best.”  

Looking ahead, the team is optimistic and is dedicated to improving its record. In fact, on Friday after their match against Riverdale, the team plans to have a group dinner on Friday which will help it bond, Leichter said. 

The Boys team also has some fun team traditions. They often celebrate big wins like their win at Dalton by grabbing donuts after matches. Other team bonding experiences and traditions include team dinners before late matches and fun squash-related team trips, Bramwell said. Sometime in the upcoming week, the team plans to watch the big squash tournament at Grand Central Station together, Bramwell said. 

“Everyone is very supportive of each other and it just creates a fun time,” Lee said. On most other teams, after a player is finished with their match, they leave and go home. The squash team, on the other hand, stay at meets even after their game has finished to support their teammates, Bramwell said. 

The team feels prepared for future matches, and when looking ahead to NYSAIS, it is confident, Beller said. “If we control each match and play match by match, I think the right results will come with time.”