After an abbreviated 2020-21 season, Fords Squash is back. The team has their eyes on a number of big goals this season. Currently, the team ranks third, but after a big win on December 11 against Brunswick, previously the second-ranked team in the country, the Fords will take their spot.
Sixth Form Captain Grady Herbert reflected on the goals the team set aside prior to starting the season.
“Well obviously the Inter-Ac is the first thing we want to win. We definitely have a stronger team than EA, so it’s looking pretty good,” Herbert said. “In terms of Nationals, we want to sneak into that championship match. Standing in our way is Brunswick, who is also in that two-three range.”
Herbert identifies depth as one of the team’s main strengths coming into the season.
“We’re looking really strong this year. We’re really deep in the ladder, especially toward the end,” Herbert said. “This will definitely help us against tougher opponents.”
The team, however, does not have the same look as most high school varsity athletic teams. Younger players account for many spots in the lineup.
“Mitav [Nayak ’22] and I are the only seniors on the varsity ladder. We’re mainly dominated by sophomores and juniors,” Herbert said. “Both classes are very strong.”
Another strength of the squash players is their work ethic. The team is practically always on campus, doing everything possible to win big matches.
We set up a trip to the Racquet and Tennis Club in New York City. We got to play with some really good adults, which is good preparation for the rest of our matches.Mitav nayak ’22
“Every day, I am in awe of how every player pushes and supports each other,” Sixth Former John Zhang said. “Everyone is hungry, diligently working through adversity day in and day out. I’d argue that no squash team in the country has such a tight-knit fabric as [we do]. What makes us dominant is the ability to fight and rally behind each other.”
Since losing last year to the pandemic, Haverford Squash lost a season with a talented group of players. reflected on what missing out on last year has done for the team.
“[Last year], we only had a seven week season and no nationals,” Sixth Form Captain Mitav Nayak.
Last year, we had a really good shot to win nationals. I think most of us are excited about playing in front of all of our friends this year. In addition, Nationals are in Philly this year. It’s always been in Connecticut. We’ll have ‘home field advantage.’”
In preparation for the season, the squash team took a trip to New York City to play at one of the most prestigious squash clubs in the country. Nayak reflected on the impact of that trip.
“We set up a trip to the Racquet and Tennis Club in New York City. We got to play with some really good adults, which is good preparation for the rest of our matches,” Nayak said.
On Saturday, they upset Brunswick in a thrilling 4-3 match.
“That match was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my ten years of playing squash,” Nayak said. “The squash courts were absolutely packed with our friends who came to support us. Winning my match and clinching the win over Brunswick in front of all of them was truly special. It would not have been possible without everyone who came to watch.”