Women’s Squash Finishes Season With Victory Over Virginia

By Sebastian Sanchez

The road to the CSA Team Nationals, held this year at Yale’s Brady Squash Center, is far from easy. Composure, desire and mental toughness are key components to reach the tournament. The Middlebury Panthers conquered these elements throughout the season and it paid off.

The 15th ranked Middlebury Panthers clawed and scratched their way to earn a spot amongst No. 1 Harvard, No. 3 Princeton and No. 4 Trinity just to name a few. The team, comprising of Zoe Carey ’16, Ti any Hau ’16 and Saskia Pownall-Gray ’16, faced Drexel, Franklin & Marshall (F&M) and the University of Virginia.

The Panthers faced the Drexel Dragons in the quarterfinal match of the Nationals on Friday evening. Coming into the tournament the Panthers knew they would have to give one hundred percent effort and heart to come out on top. Though several of the matches were close, the women’s team fell 7-2 to the Dragons.

“It was long,” Coach Mack Lewis said. “It started off a bit rough with both teams losing their first two matches to strong teams.”

In the quarterfinal loss, Caroline Jahrling ’18 and Lucy Bostwick ’18 had the only victories. Jahrling went the full mile in a five-match win against Drexel’s number seven, pushing through in the final match with a 11-7 victory.

Bostwick also had an amazing tournament run. In each of her victories, she dismantled the competition.

Lewis said, “Bostwick had a particularly strong performance this weekend. She is a tough competitor who has over the course of the season tightened up her game.”

In her matches against Drexel’s number six, she won all three of her matches: 11-7, 11-4 and 11-5. Bostwick would continue to shine as she won her next six matches; one against Franklin and Marshall, the others against the University of Virginia.

She has “acquired a greater self-awareness of her own game and pushes herself incredibly hard day in and day out. This combination yields results,” Lewis commented.

Though the Panthers fell early, Lewis applauded the team’s effort.

“The scores for the women accurately indicate the matches were close and that we had chances in both,” he said. “We wanted to win every match we played but came in seeded to finish 15th and that’s where we finished.”

After the quarterfinal loss to Drexel and a consolation loss to Franklin Marshall, the Panthers faced No. 16 Virginia. Middlebury beat the Cavaliers 8-1, in 2007. This time around Virginia was hungry for a victory against the Panthers. However, revenge would not be had as the Panthers beat the Cavaliers 7-2 to hold their national ranking at fifteen. The Panthers cruised to their victory and ended their season on a high note.

Liddy Renner ’18 was very optimistic about her team’s standings during the weekend.

“The weekend went well because we beat the teams we should have beat,” she said. “I’m excited for what we are going to be capable of next year and hopefully compete at a whole new level at Nationals.”

Lewis also had positive things to say about the women’s team after their last victory against Virginia.

“What does the future hold? I can’t be certain, but I know that [they] are committed to work on their games in the off-season. We’ll look to be physically and mentally stronger next year.”

The Women’s Squash team ended their season with a record of 9-9. Next year the Panthers hope to minimize their injuries, compete at an even higher level and look to bounce back next season stronger and tougher than ever.

“I expect that we’ll be ranked near where we are now (No. 15) and will see to move up as far as possible,” Lewis said.