Both Andover Squash Squads Prep for Season

Boys Squash After their two scrimmages against Harvard JV and Belmont Hill, Andover’s Squash squad knows they need to step it up this season. The team could blame their tough 0-2 record in the preseason on the graduation of three top players. Instead, the Squash team is rededicating themselves. Captain Dave Morse ’04 went to planning a rigorous training regimen for the team, who has their sights set on a season finale at Interschols. Dan Wagman ’06 said about the upcoming season, “I’m feeling pretty confident about the season. We lost some key players, but I think we can still pull off some strong wins. We are going to be big contenders.” The team this year is dynamic; the top rungs of team ladder should change and slide with frequency. The top four players will all be viable contestants for the hot seat at the #1 seed. Currently, Elliot Beck ’05 fills this spot. He will undoubtedly stay near the very top of the ladder for the season. Close at his heels is Derrick DeSvastich ’06, a new and welcomed face to the squad this season. Already possessing ample racquet skill, DeSvastich will focus this season on building his physical strength and endurance to secure wins in future competition. Rounding out the top four spots are Wagman and Morse. Wagman lettered as a junior at the #5 seed. He, too, will focus largely on building strength and conditioning as the season goes on. Captain Morse will look to sharpen his game tactics and shooting precision. Filling out the bottom part of the ladder are a few familiar faces as well as some newcomers. Harry Goldstein ’05, playing #5, has recently recovered from a double fracture of the collarbone. He looks to bounce back after a relatively sedentary stint in the fall term. New to the team this year are Kirk Lepke ’04 and Greg Feldmann ’05. Matches will be won or lost depending on the outcomes of the lower-ladder competition, so these players will contribute at lot to the score. Feldmann, relatively new to the sport, will finish off the ladder at #7. His athleticism and natural talent should take him far Andover struggled through its two pre-season matches. No more than a handful of games were won, and the losses were quite sobering. All other prep-school teams this year will boast teams stronger than years past. Andover looks to be on a different cycle that will prove to make this year’s season more difficult for the players than usual. In collaboration with the returning players and coach Tom Cone, Captain Morse has come up with a strict conditioning regimen to boost the stamina of the players. In addition to on court practice, varsity practices will include weight and interval training, as well as an emphasis on strong base conditioning. Morse boasted of the team’s plans to take their practice intensity a few steps higher, saying, “There are going to be some very close matches. It will all come down to ‘who can outlast the other’ in many situations. It is then that I hope our extra training will pay off.” The first of the season’s matches will be held at home in the Andover squash gallery. A four-way match up between Taft, Exeter, Choate, and Andover should be host to some quality squash. DeSvastich assures that, “Our new squash courts are excellent for viewing games. I was impressed by the facility when I first saw it. I look forward to winning in front of a home crowd.” Girls Squash “You can’t ask for more than the wins in the top eight spots for the season opener,” said Captain Diana Grace ’05. In the past, Andover has run a strong squash program and had a competitive team, but last year the team had a 3-9 record and came in 13th out of 16 at Interschols. This year should be better. There are four returning uppers, all of whom were at the top of the ladder last season. The team is young, but still boasts some powerful squash players. Last year was a bit of a rebuilding year for the team and all of the four returning players have improved tremendously. According to Skylar Washburn ’05, “A lot of players worked very hard over the summer and it’s showing in their game now, which is really exciting. Hopefully all of that hard work will carry over to a couple more wins than last season.” Captain Grace heads up the roster after switching between number one and number two last year. Charlotte MacMillan ’05, currently the second ranked player on the team, hopes to improve her game this season by working to get her shots to the back of the court. Emily Watson ’04, a new member of the Varsity team, agreed with her teammate about the promising outlook of the season, “The younger, newer players have good role models to watch. The returners are good, honest players.” Annie Myers ’04 is the sixth ranked player. Pawina Jiramongkolchai ’06, rounds out the roster as the eighth ranked player. Rachel Harmeling ’04 is the ninth member of the team and will participate in matches later on in the season. The girls hope to improve this season under Coach Hodgson’s training. His main goal for the team is to “dedicate yourself to playing with intelligence and determination to make the most of their potential.” With that in their mind, the girls look forward to a successful season. As Coach Hodgson said, “[The girls] deserve to win by cooperating, win with grace, work hard, lose with dignity, and have fun.” In their season opener, the girls came home with a solid win against Tabor. All players, one through eight, won their matches. Captain Grace, who won her three matches 9-2, 9-3, 9-3, was happy with the win, saying of her team, “It was a great way to start out the season. Winning eight matches is hard to do, so this really starts out the season on an optimistic tone. We all hope to do well at Interschols at the end of the term, and I think we really have a good chance.” Grace continued, “We’ve started out the season with high expectations, but we need to keep improving in order to show off our talents at Interschols.”