The women’s squash team traveled to South Hadley, MA, to compete in the Seven Sisters Championship this past Saturday, Feb. 11th. Competing against Wellesley College, Smith College and Mount Holyoke College, the Brewers walked away with one win and two losses.
With this 1-2 record, Vassar finished in third place, ahead of Smith College (0-3) and behind Mount Holyoke (3-0) who took first and Wellesley (2-1) who finished in second. Due to impressive performances, junior captain Hannah Nice and sophomore Jiamin Wu were both named to the All-Seven Sisters team.
Nice was the only Brewer to finish off the day undefeated. She beat Meera Nayar (Wellesley) 9-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-2, 11-1, topped Josephine Surer (Smith) 11-0, 11-0, 11-1 and edged Brandy Williamson (Mount Holyoke) 11-6, 11-7, 11-9. She goes into the CSA championships with a team-high 12-1 record.
The only other members of the squad to pick up several wins were freshmen Sydney Nemphos and Allie Pilkington and junior Emma Glickman. At No. 6, Pilkington defeated Meredith Curry (Wellesley) in a close 8-11, 11-1, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 match and Amanda Lee (Smith) 11-7, 11-7, 11-2. With these wins, Pilkington advanced her record to 12-2.
Since returning from abroad, Glickman has been solid performer for the squad. Glickman now holds a 5-1 record after securing two wins this past weekend. At No. 8, the junior came out victorious against Elena Ubeda (Wellesley) 11-7, 8-11, 5-11, 11-7, 15-13 and then beat Mieko Kuramoto (Smith) 11-7, 11-3, 11-4.
The tournament started on an unfortunate note for VC as the team was unable to secure a win against the Wellesley Blue, falling 4-5 in a close contest. Returning to the courts, the team turned this around against Smith College, grabbing a 9-0 win.
The Brewers then finished off the day against Mount Holyoke, unfortunately falling short 1-8. After the Brewers topped the Paws 7-2 earlier in the season, Mount Holyoke switched up its lineup and used this new configuration to pull out the win.
Nice has been a solid player for the Brewers all season, asserting her dedication and tenacity for squash on and off the court. Nice shared positive thoughts on the weekend and expressed happiness towards the team’s adjustment to an early start and long day of competition. Nice reflected, “The Seven Sisters tournament is always a lot of fun, but also a long, busy day, since we play three teams, one right after the other. While we had an early-morning departure, once we got to Mt. Holyoke, everyone did a great job warming up and getting into the right mindset to compete.”
She also highlighted the way the team stepped up and paid attention to the different environment that they were in. Nice mentioned, “everyone was really attentive and adjusted well to Mt Holyoke’s courts and the style of play of the other teams’ players. Even though Vassar fell to both Mount Holyoke and Wellesley, it should be noted that there were a lot of close, well-fought five-game matches by Vassar players. The outcome of these matches really could have gone either way!”
Nemphos also had a stellar showing at this past weekend’s contest. At position four, Nemphos beat Ruby Fend (Wellesley) 11-4, 11-7 and 11-3 and defeated Leah Jeon (Smith) 11-5, 11-9 and 11-1. Nemphos now boasts an 11-3 record on the season. She was especially impressed with how the team as a whole performed this weekend. “As a team, I feel like we had our best showing yet. Everyone was playing their best and working really hard. I thought our compete level was really high and, even though we had three matches in quick succession, everyone gave every game their all,” Nemphos commented.
As for what has pushed the team to go into their last few weeks on such a strong note, Nemphos points to the leadership of the team’s returners. The upperclassmen are “really good role models on and off court and hold us accountable for our play,” she explained. “They make me excited to come to practice every day.”
This excitement is especially important when getting toward the end of a long season. It is easy for a team to feel drained after months of practice and matches. Luckily, this does not seem to be a problem for this Brewers squad.
Interim Head Coach David Ames was very pleased with the performance of the squad at the Seven Sisters Tournament. “The team played tremendously well last weekend,” Coach Ames noted. “There were many four and five game matches.”
Specifically, Coach Ames points to the women’s hard work in matches tough against Wellesley. He pointed out, “In the match vs. Wellesley there were 3 different matches that with a coin flip would have gone the other way.” He was also incredibly happy with how the team did not give up or get down on themselves. “I was really pleased with the way the players adjusted their play to suit their opponents and with the tremendous grit they showed,” Coach Ames stated.
With the team’s performances and positive attitudes, Nice thinks that the team is in a good position, especially coming off the team’s showings at the Seven-Sisters Tournament. “We really want to use the momentum from the tournament and finish the season out strong! Particularly since we’ve been training in Kenyon since the start of last semester.”
Nevertheless, the team acknowledges that there is room for improvement. Nice feels the team needs to focus on game strategy: “This past weekend pointed out specific aspects of our games we need to work on, such as when to attack and when to be more defensive. The next two weeks of practice will be spent improving such aspects of our games.” Meanwhile, Coach Ames shared, “For the next two weeks, we will be working on position on the court, deception and attacking shots.”
As a captain, Nice wants to make sure the team is confident going into the last few weeks of season and that all their hard work at practices and in matches will pay off. “Everyone on the team goes into their matches ready to compete, which is great! I mostly want to make sure everyone realizes just how much work they have put into practice this season and that now is the time (aka the last chance!) to show that this year,” Nice stated.
Up next, the team will compete Friday, Feb. 24 through 26 at the CSA Championships. The time and location are undecided as of now.