The men’s squash team closed out its home schedule on a high note last weekend, claiming its best finish at the NESCAC Championships since 2010. The Polar Bears finished fifth out of 11 teams.
After beginning the tournament with a decisive 8-1 victory over Hamilton, Bowdoin suffered a tough 1-8 loss to Williams in the quarterfinal matchup. The Polar Bears rebounded though, and proceeded to win two matches in a row against Colby and Tufts—notably, two teams that Bowdoin lost to during the regular season.
“We played very well against Colby,” said Head Coach Theo Woodward. “It was down to the wire, that one. Two [Bowdoin] first years were on different courts, at the same time, and they won simultaneously in five-set matches.”
The critical wins by the first years propelled the Polar Bears to a narrow 5-4 victory on Saturday. The team carried its momentum into Sunday to defeat a strong Tufts team in a tight 5-4 matchup, securing a fifth place overall finish. The women’s team finished eighth at NESCAC Championships the weekend before.
Woodward attributed the men’s team’s success to hard work as well as the culture of the program. In his first year with the team, he has made an effort to create a team-wide family dynamic and to foster leadership among the upperclassmen.
He acknowledged that seniors Drew Clark and Tyler Shonrock have both been instrumental as team leaders, in addition to recognizing Gannon Leech ’21 as a guiding figure. Woodward’s goal is to continue building a dynamic in which students hold each other accountable and upperclassmen take on larger roles.
“Rather than the coaches saying, ‘these are the expectations—we want you to abide by them at all times’ … [we want the upperclassmen to take the lead] because coming from them, it is a lot stronger,” said Woodward.
As the team looks ahead to the College Squash Association (CSA) Team Championships, Woodward intends to keep the team sharp—but not to overwork them. He plans to emphasize conditioning game work, as well as a cross between pattern work and short bursts.
The team is currently seeded at 23rd going into the championship, but its seed is subject to slight change following its wins over Colby and Tufts.
The women’s team will begin CSA Team Championships competition today at Yale, and the men’s team departs for Cambridge, Mass. on Friday, February 28, hosted by Harvard.