In 53 minutes, first seed Chelsea Cho ’21 won a decisive match in five sets, securing the fourth victory for Andover that sent the team to the quarter finals of the U.S. High School Team Squash Championships. Andover Girls Squash entered the tournament in the ninth seed to twelfth seed category and ultimately placed seventh overall in the Division I bracket.
In the first round, the team defeated the seventh seed Springside Chestnut Hill Academy 4-3. Andover went on to fall to second seeded Baldwin School 0-7, placing the team into the consolation draw in contention for fifth to eighth place. In the last two matches, Andover lost to Deerfield 6-1 and defeated Lawrenceville 4-3.
According to Mariam Elkheshen ’21, the team performed well during the entire tournament despite finishing its matches at 11:45pm on Saturday.
“Before we actually went to the tournament, [Head Coach Jenny Elliott ’94] told us that we really want to work hard and reach a higher position than ninth. Everyone was so on top of it. The courts were really different than the ones here, but we all managed to play well and put it all out there. We were all cheering and supporting each other, which is something that helped all of us play better and push harder even though we were all very tired,” said Elkheshen.
The efforts of the bottom half of the ladder were vital to the team’s success, according to Katherine Bell ’22.
Bell said, “We have a much stronger team this year, and we’ve especially gotten stronger on the bottom half of the ladder. This year, the entire team was strong and motivated, which made for a good and fun season.”
According to Elliott, the team’s ability to overcome physical and mental exhaustion led to its impressive finish.
“In previous years, we had finished as high as number six, so we even had a stronger finish then; but this one, because we finished better than anyone had anticipated, was just really exciting,” said Elliott. “I think in terms of playing multiple matches in a day, it for sure affects your mental and physical energy, and fatigue is a real factor, so we’ve been working hard on our physical stamina and fitness, trying to avoid injuries and feel like we can work really hard even when our legs are really tired.”
The team looks to continue its momentum from Nationals into Andover/Exeter and Interschols, the last two matches of the season, according to Cho.
“We played Exeter earlier this season and won 7-0, so we’re looking forward to that as our last match of the season. I think we are just looking to keep supporting one another and being together as this exact team one last time. It’s basically the end of the season, and we just want to make the best of it and make sure we are there for each other,” said Cho.