Women’s squash starts season with four-match weekend

After falling to Bates 4-5 in the Kurtz Cup to end last season, women’s squash is looking to avenge that loss and repeat its regular season success this year. The women are ranked fourth among Div. III teams and 13 overall, joining NESCAC opponents Bates, Middlebury and Trinity in the top 15. After coming in second in the NESCAC Championships last year, the team strives toward victory this season with a strong group of returning players, as well as some promising additions.

The two seniors, Gibbs Cullen ’14 and co-captain Alyssa Northrop ’14, look to provide leadership for a young team. Northrop ended the season playing in the No. 4 spot for Williams and was ranked No. 80 in the nation for collegiate squash. The team will benefit from the return of Cullen, who missed the beginning of last season while studying abroad.

The Ephs will feel the loss of the Class of 2013, which held four of their top nine players. Especially missed will be Laura Henry ’13 and Alli Rubin ’13, who played Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and were both named First Team All-NESCAC. However, the team will reload with four new players from the first-year class. Ellen Coombe ’17, Celstia Lancaster ’17, Alyssa Ritchie ’17 and Charlotte Walsh ’17 all look to bolster the team through their play this season.

Caroline Sawin ’15 and co-captain Ellie O’Neill ’15 hold together a consistently strong junior class. Sawin ended the season playing No. 6 for Williams and will continue to be a staple player for the Ephs. O’Neill, ranked No. 87 in the nation at the end of last season, played in the No. 3 spot and was named Second Team All-NESCAC. The team will look to her for leadership.

Rounding out the team is a large sophomore class consisting of Hailey Herrin-Newbound ’16, Lily Grant ’16, Nicole Feshbach ’16 and Tafarii McKenzie ’16. Particularly notable was Feshbach who finished the season playing in the No. 5 spot. The Class of 2016 is coming off an impressive rookie season and looks to strengthen the team in this coming season.

“The team is much deeper this year, which will really help us against our closest competitors, two of which are Middlebury and Bates.” O’Neill said.

The Ephs look to start their season off strong with their first home weekend. The women play Hamilton at 5 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday, the team faces Wellesley at noon and Mount Holyoke at 6 p.m. They play a final match against Tufts at noon on Sunday.