BY LEXI LOBDELL ’20
This weekend, the Mount Holyoke squash team claimed the 2019 Seven Sisters Championship title at home in the Kendall Sports and Dance Complex. The Lyons started their day with a 7-0 win over Smith College before facing Vassar College in the championship match at 4 p.m. Mount Holyoke posted a clean sweep against Vassar, with a decisive 9-0 win to take the title. The Lyons won each set, with all nine players posting 3-0 wins.
The win marks the Lyons’ 11th Seven Sisters Championship and third consecutive title. At the game, Captains Ragini Ghose ’19, Lessly Portillo ’19 and Tanishka Sachidanand ’19 were named to the All-Tournament Team.
This year’s tournament is the last in the Seven Sisters Championship series. Sachidanand commented on how much the tournament has meant to the team through the years. She added that beyond the competition, an annual banquet allows the athletes to form friendships with players from other teams. “I still talk to some people that I connected with during the Seven Sisters Tournament my first year. It is really nice because you meet women from other colleges and get to establish that bond, so that is special.”
According to Sachidanand and her teammates, the fact that squash is self-refereed — meaning athletes themselves call the score and determine proper game etiquette — underscores the importance of commmunity, teamwork and integrity in the sport. Sachidanand said, “I think even though [refereeing] is a bit challenging and sometimes it seems unfair, it really adds to the integrity of the player and the sport so it is important.” Ghose added that refereeing can add an extra layer of pressure onto game play. “I’ve done it a lot of times but I am still nervous every time I have to referee a match, but I think it is part of the game. If you make a bad call, you just get on with it. No match is won or lost by one call so you just have to trust your teammates, trust each other to make the right calls and decisions.”
Reflecting on the tournament as a whole, Ghose said, “I think for me the highlight was seeing everyone play. Everyone on our team got to play a match today. It was special for us seniors, because it was our last match at home and it was nice to finish that with a win. I think more importantly [the highlight was] just coming together, bringing everything we’ve practiced and learned over the whole season, and finishing off strong before we head over to nationals.”
Looking to the rest of the season, the team hopes to compete well at nationals at the end of the month and enjoy their final weeks together. Portillo said, “My goal is to enjoy every practice and try to work hard because it is my last couple of practices. I just want to have fun and not focus on the wins or the losses, but enjoy the last couple of matches that I have.”
With their two wins this weekend, Mount Holyoke Squash improved their record to 15-7 and will next compete on Friday, Feb. 22 at the 2019 College Squash Association (CSA) Team Championships at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.