By Mary DeVellis
Boys Varsity Squash is on the rise after winning its first match in team history this January, Captain Alec Gustafson ’15 said. The girls team hopes to follow suit later this season. The boys and girls records stand at 1–6 and 0–6, respectively, as of February 8.
“We need to win a match,” Girls Varsity Squash Captain Grace Lavoie ’15 said. “That’s our goal, just one match.”
Now in its second season as an official school sport, squash is unique, Alec said, in that the girls and boys teams are primarily composed of younger players. His seven-player team includes one senior, one junior, two sophomores, two freshmen, and one eighth-grader. The 14-player girls team is comprised of two seniors, two juniors, and 10 underclassmen.
Grace said her team is focusing on improving its skills and mastering the basics of the sport.
“A lot of girls are new to the sport and are just learning, myself included, so we have a fun time at matches and practices,” she said.
Lilly Gifford ’17 said the team’s light-hearted feel has made for an enjoyable, low-key season.
While the girls are focusing primarily on skill work, Alec said his concern for the boys is fitness.
“As we put more emphasis on the squash team, the athleticism will rise,” he said.
Coach Greg Krane said he believes the best way for his players to improve is through matches.
“The kids have to do a lot more playing rather than drilling because they are new to the game,” he said. “They have to become more familiar with the game and proficient with their playing before they can begin doing drilling-type exercises.”
On February 7 and 8, both teams competed in the fifth division of nationals in Connecticut, which Alec said was slightly less intense than ISL play. Each team won one game, but finished with a losing record. The girls held a final record at the competition of 1-3 and the boys finished 1-2.
“The results at nationals show that for the next competitive season, it will be wise for the teams to stay in the fifth division at nationals,” Grace said. Still, the girls said they were thrilled by their victory, even if it would not show up as a win in the team’s end of season record.
Both teams agree that their primary hindrance is the school’s lack of squash courts, which they say limits the amount of practice time available. Right now the boys and girls JV and varsity teams must commute to the Belmont Hill courts, where they all practice together. If BB&N had courts, the team could better compete with similarly equipped ISL schools Coach Krane said.
Still, with one win secure, Alec has his sights set high for the boys team.
“In ten years,” he said, “we will win the ISL.”