Girls Squash, Sports, Winter Sports

Girls Squash Falters in Double Header

G.Glover/The Phillipian

Mariam Elkheshen ’21 is a new Lower from Egypt who plays first seed on the team.

Second seed and Captain Skyler Spaulding ’20 hit a forehand volley off a loose ball into the nick, securing a 3-2 win against her Milton opponent. Despite Spaulding’s win, Andover Girls Varsity Squash fell 3-4 to Milton and 0-7 to Choate on Saturday. Andover’s record stands at 0-2.

Despite the loss, Andover put up a strong fight against Milton, according to Spaulding and first seed Mariam Elkheshen ’21.

Spaulding said, “All of the game scores were really even. The overall score was 3-4, and all the other matches were really tight, so it could’ve gone either way.”

“It was my first match, so I was really nervous in the beginning so I didn’t play well for the first game. For the second game I started playing better. It was a really close game. I lost 13-11 in that game,” said Elkheshen.

The unfamiliarity of the Milton courts proved to be a disadvantage for Andover, according to Elkheshen and Spaulding.

Elkheshen said, “It was their home court, so it was their advantage. Their courts are kind of different from ours because their courts force the ball to die.”

“It was a home-court advantage for them because we weren’t used to the court conditions because they’re a lot different from ours at [the Snyder Center], but we definitely adapted pretty quickly and after warming up on them, we got pretty used to them,” said Spaulding

After playing Milton, Andover faced Choate with a short break between the matches. Andover’s tight battle over Milton consumed much of its energy and the team felt fatigued going into its second match of the day, according to seventh seed Nanami Takamatsu ’20 and Spaulding.

Takamatsu said, “We had two games in a row. It was bad because four people out of seven lost already in the Milton game, so we started off in a losing mentality. [Coach Jennifer Elliott ’94] told us to think of it as an advantage that we already played a game because we knew the courts already.”

“It was nice to be warmed up for our second match because Choate had just driven three hours, but we were also really tired because the Milton matches were so tight that we kind of put all of our effort into the Milton matches and we didn’t have much time after to prepare for the next one. We had to jump right into it,” said Spaulding.

Choate, according to Spaulding and Takamatsu, proved a strong and consistent opponent.

Spaulding said, “They had a really deep ladder, and they had some new, good players. They were really good and really strong.”

“For the Choate game, for me, my opponent was really powerful. All her balls were in the back corners, which was really annoying. She could also take balls really consistently. I got points by dropping and lobbing which was the total opposite,” said Takamatsu.

Despite the loss, the team remained both supportive and encouraging of one another, which helped boost their morale during challenging matches, according to Spaulding.

Spaulding said, “Everyone did really well supporting each other. Even though it was our first match and we haven’t really done a lot as a team yet because that was our first team experience, everyone was really supportive of each other and gave really good advice.”

In the future, the team aims to improve in both keeping its composure and refining its fundamental skills, according to Takamatsu and Spaulding.

Takamatsu said, “[We need to] work on being more calm and playing smart squash [and] also staying on the offense instead of defense.”

“Now we’re going to slow it down and focus more on technique and being consistent with our shots,” said Spaulding.

Andover will participate in the Groton Invitational Squash Tournament this Saturday.

Dec 7, 2018