Sunday, December 23, 2012


Welcome to the Harvard Squash Blog- Holiday Edition!

Seasons greetings!  We are excited to have this blog finally up and running. At the end of each month, we will be bringing you pre- and post- match updates, catching up with alumni and taking an inside look at the Crimson squash teams.  Right now, our players are busy training (and carbo-loading!) around the globe.

Ali Farag is at home in Egypt, James Watkins and Asfy Nadeem are in the UK, Saumya Karki is in India and Tyler Olsen and the Gemmell sisters are in Canada.  Matty Roberts, of South Africa, is spending his first American Christmas with the Dowling family (as long as he didn't get lost in Grand Central!)  Many of the players are at home on the east coast, getting ready to play the Williams White Tournament in Philly on the 4th-6th of Jan.  It's a great chance for college players to come together and get practice matches with a competitive buzz.  

As usual, things have been pretty busy at the Murr Center.  We've got a lot to catch up on.  Hope you enjoy it!

Please come support us at Penn on Saturday, Jan. 12 and at Princeton, Sunday, Jan. 13! 

Below are the Season Previews, video interviews with Head Coach, Mike Way on the team's prospects this season:

"That's the get out there and try to prove again, that we are the best team in college squash."

"It's pretty much the same group of men, but if our team right now could play our team from last season, pretty sure we'd beat them 9-zip."

The College Years - A time of change, challenge and regrettable haircuts
The sight of a newly bald Ali Farag, as seen in the video above, produced outcries and much unhappiness from our women's team.  He said he shaved it off because he "was bored during the hurricane."  Good thing that it grew back before he went home.  I guess college is the time for it, if ever.

"Jacked Varsity" Bench Presses Boston College, Tufts and Berkeley
The fall is our time for hard training before the tougher matches come.  It also allows us time for our "Jacked Varsity" (the guys ranked 15-24) to play local opponents. After working hard all fall, they defeated BC, Tufts and UC Berkeley by a whopping individual match score of 27-0.  Seniors Charlie Cabot and Shaw McKean provided great leadership, keeping large squad on track in practice, warm-ups and introductions.

Men's recap vs. BC (Tufts/Berkeley below)

Men's Matches (with top 9 playing):

Dartmouth- Nov, 28 (Ivy Home Opener)
Men and Women Win 9-0
For several years, Dartmouth has held onto the in the 8th and 7th place rankings in the men's and women's rankings respectively.  Their men's team is led by a strong no. 1 player in Chris Hanson, a 1st Team All-American three years running who will likely play on the pro tour after college.  The Big Green men came out fighting but we didn't let them take any matches.  The Dartmouth ladies also played well and stretched several of our women to 4 and 5 game matches.

Rochester- Dec, 1 (Men only)
Men Win 5-4
Playing at Rochester is always tough and our guys had been training towards this match all fall.   In the first round of matches, Matty Roberts posted the second win of his college squash career at no. 9.  In the no. 7 spot, Tommy Mullany avenged last year's loss against JP Gaviria.  After a tough first game, Gaviria's gutsy retrieving couldn't last against Tommy's precise, tactical play with a scoreline of (9) 5, 4, 6.  Meanwhile, our no. 2 player, Brandon McLaughlin, was frustrated that several calls had not gone his way after losing the first game to the experienced recruit from the UK, Neil Cordell.  After regaining his focus, Brandon put on one of the top performances of the fall with a (9) 5, 8, 1 result.  Men's captain, Jason Michas, played with the savvy and tenacity of a veteran to come out on top 6, (9), 5, 3.  Rochester's top player, Andres Duany, will be in contention for a 1st Team All-America spot this year, but he was no match for Ali, who dispatched him in three games.

The bus ride back to Cambridge was long but upbeat and the win gave us great momentum going into winter break.

Williams- Dec, 5
Men and Women Win 9-0
The Ephs are an incredibly deep team, especially on the men's side.  They have improved a great deal in the last two years and already had an awesome win over the Penn this year, so we knew we had to be ready.  Harvard freshman, Sam "Goldfinger" Goldberg, won his first match in the top 9.  The underdog Ephs ladies also came out fighting and made sure the crimson women couldn't take the match for granted.  Like the match against Dartmouth, the crimson ladies had to keep their focus to pull it out.

The Crimson Women-
Gaining Steam Towards January

The women's team members at numbers 10-16 get most of their competitive opportunities in exhibition play.  They did get off to a good start with an official 9-0 win over BC in November.  In the new year, they will play against Bates, Hamilton, Amherst and Wesleyan in the top 9 spots.

Women's recap vs. BC

We are happy to report Sophomores Julianne Chu and Amanda Sobhy are both fully recovered from injuries.  As always, the focus is on training intelligently and efficiently, to keep them healthy and in our lineup for the rest of the season. 

The women's first real tests are against Penn and Princeton, on Jan. 12 and 13.  They are two of the top teams in the nation, and Penn has 5 much-talked about freshman.  Some consider them to be  the toughest challenger for the no.1 spot.  The ladies will also be looking to prove their dominance over the Tigers, who have won 4 matches in each of the last two meetings.

Here is a nice little article from the Crimson on the Gemmell sisters, two of whom are in the top five on our team.  Just last week, Laura was accepted to the Masters program for Clinical Embryology at Oxford University.  Congrats, Laura!

Winter Break
The players are catching up on some much-needed sleep and training at home.  In team meetings, we've mapped out the mental and physical preparations needed to get off the blocks quickly in the new year.  The players are taking responsibility for their own training programs and to return to campus fit and sharp.  

From December 15 to 18, Harvard hosted the 2013 US Junior Open.  It continues to be the largest junior tournament in the world with over 800 players from 20 countries!  US Squash has done a ton of work to grow this into one of the most prominent events on the world junior circuit.  The level of squash was extremely high, and we are lucky to have so many talented players visiting our campus, especially since so many are strong students as well.  Next year's recruiting class will be among the most competitive ever!

In our next edition, we will recap Penn and Princeton matches and look ahead to the Friends of Harvard Squash Reception in New York City, taking place at the Harvard Club on January 26.  We will also take a look at our two entrants in the Tournament of Champions: Amanda and Ali.

Many thanks for your support. We coaches wish you a happy holiday season!  Enjoy the bubbly!

Mike Way, Gregory Lee 87' and Russell Ball '88 Endowed Coach for Squash at Harvard University- Profile

Reggie Schonborn, Assistant Coach- Profile

Luke Hammond, Assistant Coach- Profile

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