Tied 3-3 after six matches, the match came down to first seed Mariam Elkheshen ’21, who needed to defeat her opponent to clinch an Andover Girls Squash win. After dropping the first two games, Elkheshen battled back to win 3-2 and secure the 4-3 victory over St. George’s this Wednesday. The team’s record now stands at 1-2.
In addition to Wednesday’s match against St. George’s, Andover traveled to Groton on Saturday to compete in the annual Groton Invitational Tournament. At the tournament, each player had the chance to compete in four to five matches. Though the tournament was not scored, Andover put in a solid effort, according to second-seed and Captain Skyler Spaulding ’20.
In an email to The Phillipian, Spaulding wrote, “At the Groton tournament everybody gave every point their all. Not only did everybody have really strong shot choices, but we were also mentally tough… We added a lot of new people to the team this year and I can’t wait to get to know them more. I can already tell everybody is very determined and passionate about squash. We’re always supporting each other and pushing each other to do our best.”
Andover lost its one-seed from last year, making newcomer Elkheshen the top seed on the team. According to third-seed Charlotte Toogood ’20, Elkheshen has stepped up to the challenge well. In addition, Toogood also believes other new team members have done well adjusting to the team and fitting in with the returning team members.
Toogood ’20 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Our new [number one] Mariam has stepped into the role very nicely and is doing an amazing job of representing Andover! This year, the team has a great, supportive atmosphere. All of the players new to the program have integrated very well with the returners. While we miss our [one-seed] a lot, the team is still excited for the rest of the season.”
Sixth seed Saffron Agrawal ’21 is one of such new players on the team. She says she believes a strong relationship is already forming between returning and new Varsity players.
“I think it’s been a big adjustment but I think that we’re getting into the swing of things now and it’s been really fun for me to have a lot of my teammates last year like Gigi [Glover ’20] and Serena [Liu ’19] and Nanami [Takamatsu ’20], and so we kinda carried that bond from last year, and last year we worked a lot with varsity, so we had a couple of joint practices and went to a lot of games together and now there’s already a bit of a dynamic between last years Varsity players and last years JV players, but the new players are also great,” said Agrawal.
Despite Andover’s win over St. George’s, it was difficult for the team to get ready to play after the long bus ride to the school in Middletown, R.I., according to Agrawal.
Agrawal said, “The only thing is that we were a little uneasy just because the bus ride was so long and a lot of us slept or like we were really tired when we got off and so that kinda got us off on the wrong foot when we got to St George’s just because it was a little bit hard to go from suddenly sitting for [two-and-a-half] hours to playing squash.”
Andover’s next match will be at Noble and Greenough on January 5.
Editor’s Note: Gigi Glover is an Associate Sports Editor for The Phillipian.