WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - - As the leaves start to change color, and the wind begins to pick up, one thing is clear - winter is coming. While some may start to retreat indoors with a warm cup of their favorite beverage, for the Williams squash team, this crisp fall weather signifies "go time!" The Ephs have been working hard all fall to hone in on their fitness and technique, and they can't wait to finally test their potential on the squash courts.
The Ephs finished 12th in the nation last season, right after Brown and ahead of University of Virginia, and hope to do even better this season. It will be an uphill battle to maintain their spot in the college rankings, but they're ready to fight hard and have a competitive season awaiting them. Graduation claimed five players from the roster season four of whom played in the top 9. Graduated seniors Nicole Friedman and Hayley Parsons played number 1 and 2 for Ephs last year, so the returnees and newcomers have to work especially hard this season to maintain that level of talent at the top of the ladder. Also lost to graduation were Ananya Mahalingam-Dhingra (5), Caroline Hogan (9), and Susana Wilson-Hawken (14).
Looking ahead, the Ephs added three new faces to the roster this season. Freshman Kathryn Wright who hails from Greenwich, CT and compiled a decorated junior squash career. Joining the Ephs from Greenwich Adademy, her killer low shots and her stupendous fitness will surely be an important asset to the team. Wright is accompanied by classmate Alex Pear who calls Philadelphia, PA home. Pear is joining the Ephs from Germantown Friends School, where she was captain for two years and played number two on the ladder. Sophomore Cassie Deshong is also joining the Ephs this season. Coming from Deerfield Academy, she will play a valuable and key spot on the bottom of the ladder.
The Ephs have three juniors abroad, Eliza Bower, Anna Nicholson, and Melissa Swann, who will add their experience and talent to the mix when they return. Until that trio returns, the team is shaping up to be small, but mighty. Due to the small size of the team, everyone is currently playing a top 9 position, leading to plenty of opportunity for everybody to be challenged and to grow as players. Sole senior and captain Esther Baek sets a great example of hard work and enthusiasm at each practice. Her speedy movements and incredible ball control make her an easy person for the incoming players to look up to.
The sophomore class is exceptionally strong. Julia Ward, coming into the season in the number one spot, is the quintessence of dedication and love for the sport. Her skill and competitive spirit make her a serious force to be reckoned with. Other sophomores, Sarah Willwerth, Abby LeBlanc, and Adrienne Conza, are equally exemplary in their commitment to the game. It is obvious that everyone on the team is giving it 100% and are pushing each other to work harder, which has made the Ephs that much stronger.
Head coach Zafi Levy says "I am very excited about the up and coming season. We have a talented team with lots of potential and I am excited about helping our players grow and fulfill their potential."
The Ephs have their first official match on November 17th at Cornell University. They will face Cornell University, William Smith College, Connecticut College, and Hamilton College that weekend.