Bowdoin Squash experienced a rocky start to this season when both the men’s and women’s teams lost three matches in a row; however, over the course of the season, both teams have become dominant forces. Ahead of their matches this weekend, the men’s team is currently 6-5 and the women’s team is 7-6.
The teams’ quick turnaround has gained them recognition. In their most recent weekend update, the College Squash Association (CSA) wrote, “The teams from Bowdoin are two of the hottest teams in the CSA at the moment.”
The men’s team has had a particularly onerous road to victory, with their matches against Williams and Middlebury Colleges being canceled due to three positive COVID-19 cases. Head Coach Theo Woodward believes that watching the women’s team fight hard for an upset over Middlebury was a turning point in the season for the men.
“This brought the men’s team closer together,” Woodward wrote in an email interview with the Orient. “Watching the women’s team meant they were very extremely grateful and hence determined for the Amherst match and the opportunity to compete again. They brought huge energy to the Amherst match which has continued since.”
Even though squash is often thought of as an individual sport, both teams credit team unity as an essential factor in their turnaround.
“I think we’ve definitely formed that team bond—that team drive and hunger to win these matches,” squash player Jackson Rho ’24 said.
Women’s Squash Captain Melissa Horan ’22 credits the team’s recent success to heightened confidence.
“A lot [of our success] is growing confidence, especially with the younger players or even myself as a senior,” Horan said. “I tend to notice myself getting more confident with my shots and my play towards the middle to the end of the season.”
In addition to the success of veteran players, Woodward also credits first years for playing a crucial role in their season’s turnaround.
“All of our first years have been leaders on this team, propelling others forward and finding their unique roles on the team,” Woodward said.
Horan shared a similar sentiment.
“I think seeing our underclassmen really fight through some really tough matches, win or lose, [is] just really inspiring and I’m really proud of them,” Horan said.
With both teams sharing stronger bonds, more confidence and loads of momentum, they are now preparing for the NESCAC tournament. The men’s tournament begins on February 4, and the women’s tournament follows on February 11.
Right now, the team’s tough start serves as nothing more than motivation.
“We’re hoping during NESCACs and nationals to get a second chance at those teams [that beat us],” Horan said.