Women’s Squash: Full of Fresh Faces and Even Fresher Wins


Bea Kuijpers ’19 is ready to unleash fury on the squash courts.

The 15th-ranked women’s squash team came out swinging this past weekend, when they began their 2018-2019 season with a home opener on Saturday against Tufts. The Panthers swept with a 9-0 victory, and team captains Bea Kuijpers ’19 and Alexa Comai ’19 led the way. 

The Panthers blanked Tufts and continued a streak of dominance that has lasted against the Jumbos for the past couple of years. Mira Chugh ’20 began the sweep with her win at line nine in a four-game victory (10-12, 11-3, 11-2, 11-4) over Chloe Kantor. Natalie Madden ’21 followed close behind in the sixth spot (11-8, 11-7, 11-9), and gave the Panthers a comfortable 2-0 lead. Captain Alexa Comai ’19 tallied another win with a 9-11, 11-5, 11-2, 11-4 at line three against Zarena Jafry.

The next couple of wins followed suit from Natasha Lowitt ’20 in the eighth spot (11-3, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5) and Emily Beinkampen in the fifth spot (7-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-9). Ideal Dowling ’22 had an amazing showing at No. 2 over Julie Yeung (11-4, 11-3, 10-12, 11-2), and grabbed her first collegiate win. Dowling, a strong addition to the top line, is a fresh face to keep an eye on. First-year Gwen Davis ’22 also captured the first victory of her college career at line seven (11-8, 11-7, 11-3) over Diya Sanghi.

Head coach Mark Lewis has an optimistic outlook for the rest of the season. “The team looks very strong and deep,” Lewis said. “The addition of the two first-years in the top nine adds strength throughout the lineup.”

Virginia Schaus ’21 made the score 8-0 with an 11-5, 11-4, 11-7 triumph against Rachel Windreich in the fourth position, and Kuijpers completed the sweep with a five-game victory (11-9, 11-13, 12-10, 6-11, 15-13) against Claire Davidson in the top spot.

“The team has been working hard on all aspects of their games — from fitness and the mental game, to tactics and technique. My assistant coach David Cromwell and I try to keep things very simple on all fronts,” Lewis said. The women’s squash team, having had a history of tough injuries, will be especially careful of their physical health. “Our biggest challenge will be to stay healthy and fit. Though we have a very difficult schedule, we relish the opportunities each match provides.”

Hoping to continue their hot start to the season, the Panthers will return to action as they hit the road this weekend, Dec. 8 and 9, against Wesleyan and George Washington in Connecticut.