Girls JV Squash Makes a Comeback

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I Lok U '20

Maggie Ottenbreit '20, a new member of the JV Squash team, is seeded first on the team.

After a rocky first few weeks marred by losses and cancelled games, the Girls JV Squash team is getting its season back on track.
Despite losing the first few matches of the season, players remained motivated and confident, and their positive attitude has paid off. On Wednesday, January 29, the team won a home match against Berkshire, 6-1, showcasing the players’ improving skills. The following weekend, the team had another strong showing, defeating Loomis-Chaffee 6-1.
This upward trend mirrors the team’s roller coaster 2018-2019 season. After starting last year’s season with four losses, the team ended the season with a 6-6 record. Co-captain Grace Li ’21 said, “[Players] are persisting to the end and have been growing individually over time, which is more important than the score.”
This season, returners only make up about half of the roster, presenting the challenge of integrating more upperclass students as well as five new Lower Mids. The team is composed primarily of players from the Lower Mid and Upper Mid classes, with only two Seniors and no Preps.
Although squash is often seen as an individual sport, returners have put special emphasis on creating a team culture in which players support each other. New player Sophie Davis ’22 said, “It’s nice to be able to meet people I wouldn’t normally have the chance to interact with. Having just 13 people on the team means I can create closer connections with them.”
During practice, the team works through numerous drills to focus on skill-building while giving players the chance to interact with a variety of people on the team.
Players often work in smaller groups of two or three to hone skills such as hitting volleys and rails or to work on straight shots and cross courts. Small groups provide an opportunity for players to receive individualized feedback.
Li said, “The fact that you’re working, struggling, and relating to each other [creates a space] for new friendships [to] form. Everyone’s [improving] their own skills and has their own flaws, but we [all] work together to improve.”
A key part of this team welcoming and positive energy comes from Head Coach Elizabeth Brown, who has been coaching Girls JV Squash for the past five years. She was captain of her squash team at both St. Andrew’s School and Middlebury College.
Having experienced a similar boarding high school environment at St. Andrew’s, Brown knows how to support the players on and off the court. Li said, “[Coach Brown is] so supportive, and she makes it such a fun time. [She uses] encouragement as a form of training, she’s well organized, and [she has fostered] a lot of strong trust [among players]. Sometimes Lucy [Bulley ’21], Meghana [Annamaneni ’21], and I will just pop by her office to say hi.”
Each year, the team looks forward to its annual party at Coach Brown’s house. Brown cooks dinner and bakes for them while players enjoy a chance to bond outside of practice and spend time with their coach and mentor.
Girls JV Squash looks forward to its next game on Wednesday, February 12, when players will face off against Westminster at home.