As they approach midseason, the girls varsity squash team hopes to extend their success after a hot start at 4-1.
The lady Wyverns triumphed over their first four opponents of the season by large margins beating Ethel Walker 6-1, Suffield Academy 7-0, Millbrook 5-2, and Canterbury 6-1. However, following their four-game win streak, KO suffered tough losses to Westminster 7-0 and Choate 7-0 who have always been tough opponents in past seasons.
“Westminster and Choate are probably the strongest teams we play all season, so we all tried our best even though we lost,” junior Sloan Duvall said. “However, these matches helped us a lot when we played Kent. Everyone was matched super evenly, so we knew it would be a close match.”
Throughout the first four matches many of the girls earned undefeated records. Junior co-captain Izzy Berckemeyer, senior Amelia Levine, sophomore Amrita Natarajan, and Duvall were all 4-0 to start the season.
When asked about what has contributed to the team’s success so far this winter, Head Coach Cameron Biondi emphasized their strong middle of the ladder. “The middle of our ladder is both strong and successful, as well as close to each other in level,” Coach Biondi said. “Since we are able to to win these matches in the middle, it becomes more likely for us to win the overall match.”
Despite losing three seniors last year, the girls have not skipped a beat as each player has stepped up in the ladder and performed this season. Coach Biondi has also commended the girls ability to communicate and coach each other when necessary. Berckemeyer has noted some additional team strengths as well. “We all have good mental toughness,” Berckemeyer said. “That is going to ultimately help us win a lot of matches going forward.”
Some challenges the team has faced this season include playing five out of their eight matches so far on the road. This causes them to have to adjust to other courts quicker, which is never easy, but KO has managed to do so pretty well thus far. Also, almost all of the matches they’ve played have either been big wins, or big losses which Coach Biondi indicates doesn’t prepare you too well for the playoffs.
During practice, the team focuses on a mix of drills and gameplay with a touch of conditioning. “In practice we do about half an hour of drills followed by another half hour of playing,” junior co-captain Sydney Smith said. “Sometimes we’ll do conditioning at the end of practice as well.”
The girls also promote a positive team environment and are all really close with each other. “As a small team, we are a very close-knit group and support each other a lot in our matches,” Duvall said. “No one ever leaves after their match is over. We all cheer for each other and offer advice and support in between games.”
Since their two losses against Westminster and Choate, KO has redeemed themselves with two 5-2 victories against Kent, and Loomis who are both tough competitors.
Going forward, the girls are away for two matches against Suffield and Taft, and then are back for a two-game home-stand against Hopkins and Pomfret.
The girls squash team looks to finish out the regular season strong and continue winning as they make their way into the playoffs.