Squash teams compete in and win B-division national tournament

by Cody Fujii | 2/27/17 2:20am

In the past two weeks, both the men’s and women’s squash teams traveled to compete in national championships, and both returned to Hanover with hardware to show for it. The men won the College Squash Association’s Hoehn Cup last weekend, and the women took the Kurtz Cup on Sunday.

The No. 9 men and No. 9 women each competed in the B division of the College Squash Association tournaments, taking on a bracket of teams ranked ninth to 16th nationally.

After a drought against Princeton University for many years, the men’s squash team notched its third consecutive victory against the Tigers in the final game of the Hoehn Cup. On their path to the final, the men downed No. 14 Franklin and Marshall College and No. 15 George Washington University.

The Hoehn Cup was a riveting tournament for the men’s squash players despite Dartmouth’s standing as the top-seeded team.

“Coming in as the top seed is definitely tough because you know you’re playing teams that have nothing to lose,” Carson Spahr ’19 said. “They’re always going to be out there firing.”

During the quarterfinals of the tournament, Dartmouth won a convincing 8-1 victory over Franklin and Marshall.

“We were pretty confident after getting that first win,” Spahr said.

George Washington, who Dartmouth faced in the semifinals, presented a greater threat to the Big Green with a strong lineup in its top half.

“We knew the bottom half of our lineup really had to come through,” Spahr said. “And they did.”

Dartmouth prevailed 7-2, a win that included a sweep of the third round of matches.

After the relative ease of its previous two matches, the team felt confident going into the finals against Princeton. But it was hard not to remember the Big Green’s regular-season nailbiter against the Tigers, when Dartmouth eked out a 5-4 win that was decided in the final match. Despite the earlier challenge, Dartmouth toppled Princeton in the finals.

“It was stressful in the beginning matches but seeing everyone playing well really propelled the next kids,” Spahr said.

The Hoehn Cup win gives the men’s squash team a record of 10-7 on the season.

“We were really able to come together as team and play our best squash at the end of the season,” co-captain Glen Brickman ’17 said. “We comfortably won all our games 8-1 or 7-2, so were able to put everything together.”

Head coach Hansi Wiens attributed the team’s success last weekend to drive and preparation.

“The key things were that they were highly motivated and trained really well,” Wiens said.

The women’s squash team found similar success in the Kurtz Cup tournament, which concluded yesterday and included a 9-0 romp over No. 16 Middlebury College.

“We were pretty comfortable in knowing that we were going to win, but definitely faced some fight from them,” Maddie Fraser ’17 said. “However, we were able to pull it off.”

The women’s squash team was challenged in its semifinal game against No. 12 George Washington but still clinched the win 6-3. All six wins came from the bottom of the Big Green lineup.

“The match was pretty predictable ... but the top three definitely had really good matches,” Fraser said.

The team turned in a riveting performance in the championship against No. 14 Drexel University, pulling out a 5-4 victory. In the decisive match, Becky Brownell ’18 was down by two games before claiming the next three in a row.

“We were most proud of our confidence, but we also had the drive to win,” Fraser said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy just because we were the top seed. We kept the fighting attitude that we maintained throughout the season.”

This weekend, select players in the men’s and women’s squash teams will play in individual championships at home.