Women’s squash regains momentum, honors seniors

Freshman standout Sydney Nemphos finished with a perfect 2-0 record on Senior Day. After a strong finish to regular season play, the team will head to the Seven Sisters Championships on Feb. 11. / Courtesy of Carlisle Stockton

This Saturday, Feb. 28, the Vassar women’s squash team secured two wins in emphatic fashion to celebrate Senior Day. Returning home to Kenyon Hall for the first time since December, the Brewers swept Boston University and Northeastern in the 2017 Hudson Valley Team Tournament.

The victories this Saturday were a continuation of Vassar’s return to winning ways. Before winter break, the team suffered a close 4-5 loss to a very talented Tufts University squad, which ended a five-match winning streak. Although going into break after such a loss would seem to be a large challenge for the team to overcome, the break proved to be an opportunity for the team to recover and focus on their training in preparation for their return in January.

In terms of Vassar’s winter recess, Coach David Ames explained, “The break actually affected the team far less than expected. Most players practiced and worked out at home and arrived on campus on Jan. 14. We did two-a-day practices all week, with conditioning in the morning and standard squash practice in the afternoon.”

Senior captain Carly Scher pointed out that the break also allowed the team to study the game in addition to the hard training regimen they followed. “We also had the opportunity to go watch the professionals in the Tournament of Champions in Grand Central as it was happening during our training week. So that was really cool and a great way to think about what we do on court,” shared Scher.

The hard work paid off, as the Brewers returned to action on Jan. 21 with a prominent 8-1 win over Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania. Against the Fords, junior captain Hannah Nice led the Brewers with a win in three sets, earning her fifth straight win in five matches for the Burgundy and Grey.

The longest streak on that day belonged to the freshman Sydney Nemphos, who defeated her opponent Isabelle Agnew in four sets to reach a six-match winning streak. Nemphos and fellow classmate Alessandra Pilkington have proven to be a prolific duo for the Brewers in their rookie year. Acknowledging their success, Coach Ames stated, “Sydney and Allie are working very hard and have won the majority of their matches.” Coach Ames continued, “I am very sure I will see them being leaders and tremendous assets to the team in the future.”

Other results on the match against Haverford went Vassar’s way as sophomore Jiamin Wu defeated Olivia Francom, Scher fought Mason McNulty through a tough four sets and junior Cherylann Mucciolo swept Emilia Cobbs in three straight sets. Senior Diana Howland and junior Emma Glickman also dispatched their opponents with ease through three sets.

Building on the momentum from the match against Haverford, the Brewers brought it home this past Saturday in Kenyon Hall, facing a daunting day of double matches against Boston University in the morning and then Bucknell just five hours later. Up for the challenge, the team provided a dominant display, winning 17 out of a possible 18 individual matches, bringing the team to a three-game winning streak.

This past Saturday was also a special day for three of the Brewers, seniors Isabelle Bertram, Howland and Scher, who were honored on Senior Day. Each individual won both of her matches on the day and was excited to end their regular season on a high note.

Expressing joy at the team’s ability to finish its regular success with such finesse, Howland said, “Getting the wins was great! We were pretty confident going in, and we all executed really well. Good vibes all around.” Howland has played for the team for two years, earning an overall record of 15-11, including an impressive 9-1 record this year.

Scher was also overjoyed at the finish of her final regular season. “Senior day was all we could’ve wanted and more. I could not have asked for a better way to spend my last match at Kenyon and begin the end of my career at Vassar,” smiled Scher. “I’m so proud of all the women who not only wowed me on Saturday, but have been amazing me all season with their passion, hard work and spirit.” Scher finished the regular season with a record of 8-3, and an overall record of 21-22 over three years on the team.

On another impressive note, Bertram finished her regular season with an overall record of 20-18 over three years, and an 8-3 record in the 2016-2017 season.

Looking ahead, the Brewers will travel to Mount Holyoke on Feb. 11 for the Seven Sisters Championships. The Seven Sisters Championships bode to be Vassar’s biggest challenge to date. Posting an overall record of 9-2 this season, the team has high hopes for their performance at the championships.

Howland expressed a strong confidence and determination among the team as they prepare for the tournament. Howland elaborated,“We have a very deep team this year, both in terms of emotion and talent. We believe we can do anything we put our minds too.” Continuing these sentiments, Scher stated, “We have an extremely strong team this year, the strongest it has been in all my four years.”

Coach Ames also demonstrated measured excitement going forward. “The Seven Sisters Championships are a big deal for us. Other than Nationals at the end of February, it is the biggest competition in which we participate all year…But I am really looking forward to playing Wellesley,” explained Coach Ames. The only Seven Sisters competition the Brewers have faced this year has been Mount Holyoke. Heading into Feb. 11 is thus an exciting time for the Brewers, as they look to transfer their out-of-league form to the League Championships.

As the historic season reaches its conclusion, it has been a season to remember for all. Scher captures the emotion of this moment in time, “My freshman year I played on the men’s team; there was no women’s team. But today the women’s team has grown larger than the men’s. That in itself is an accomplishment. We definitely have a lot to be proud of this season. I think we’re going to go out with a bang.”

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