Women’s squash relies on rookie class

This season, women’s squash will target the national ‘B’ championship and the NESCAC finals with a strong roster of veteran athletes and promising rookies. The team is ranked ninth in the national preseason standings after falling to Brown in the national ‘B’ division championships last season.

While the Ephs will feel the loss of top-nine player Kavitha Manava ’11, their roster has been strengthened by a strong recruiting class. Head Coach Zafi Levy ’01 has high expectations for rookie Elly O’Neill ’15, who he believes will challenge for a spot at the top of the ladder, as well as Caroline Sawin ’15, who will look to snare the No. 7 position.

O’Neill and Sawin will be joined by eight of last season’s starters, including All-NESCAC players Courtney Bogle ’12 and Allison Rubin ’13, who will compete for the No. 1 spot. Alyssa Northrop ’14 will also return after a strong performance at No. 4 last season. Eliana Saltzman ’12, co-captain Carolyn Kaemmer ’12, Gibbs Cullen ’14 and Hollis Miller ’13 will also return. Laura Henry ’13, Hannah Kaemmer ’13 and Mia Fry ’13 will not play until the women’s match against Bowdoin on Jan. 7, as they are currently studying abroad.

According to Levy, the loss of the three juniors in the early season will prove difficult for the team, as the women will face six of the top 10 teams in the nation during that time. Henry competed as the women’s No. 2 last season. “We’re playing all the tough teams [then], and we’re playing without three of our top players,” he said. “That’s tough for the team.”

Levy emphasized that his team is seeking to continue improving. “We’re still in rebuilding mode. When the team is in full force we will have a very competitive top 12,” he said. He anticipates critical matches against top ‘B’ division competitors Bates, Middlebury, Brown, Dartmouth, Columbia and Mount Holyoke. “Our goal is to win the ‘B’ division every year,” Levy said. “We’d love to be there again.”

The team will host its season opener against Harvard at 5 p.m. on Saturday, followed by matches with Hamilton at 1 p.m. and Stanford at 5 p.m. on Sunday and Cornell at 12 p.m. on Monday.