Women’s squash aims for top-8 rank

A large influx of talent combined with the experience of seasoned players has created a notably strong, focused women’s squash team this year.

Co-captain Arianna Kourides ’09, who just finished her last season of field hockey and is now completely focused on squash, said that this might be the most intense pre-season she has seen. “It is obvious that everybody’s been working really hard during pre-season,” she said. “I’m very excited to see how that type of dedication will take us through the season.”

Last season was bittersweet as the team lost contests to rivals Stanford, Dartmouth and Cornell, 5-4, during the season, only to come back and redeem itself against the Cornell team for the Kurtz Cup.

“We were unlucky last season losing to Cornell and Stanford during the regular season after having opportunities to win,” Head Coach Zafi Levy said. “The team came on strong at the end of the season. I think we learned a lot about our strength as a team last season.”

This year, the team seems to have learned its lesson and is hungrier than ever before. “We’ve realized how important it is to take every match seriously because we had a lot of 5-4 losses last season that I don’t think we were expecting,” said Kavitha Mannava ’11. “I’m really looking forward to us getting back into the top eight.”

The team’s drive and enthusiasm is also buoyed by the first-years that have joined the team. After graduating top competitors like All-NESCAC honoree Ashley Eyre ’08, the team is finding strength in its new recruits. “I think the most exciting thing about this season is all of the incredible freshmen who have joined the team,” co-captain Claire Hsu ’09 said.

These players include Courtney Bogle ’12, Carolyn Kaemmer ’12, Eliana Saltsman ’12, Grace Gordon ’12 and Nancy Cannon ’12.

The team’s main goal for the season is quite clear: to re-enter the top eight standings in the country. “I expect a very successful season,” Levy said. “Our goal is to return to the A-division after winning the B-division last year. In order to do that, we will have to beat Brown and Cornell.

The women will compete in their season-opener on Nov. 23 against Harvard.