Women’s club squash achieves programs highest rank at No. 3

Bethany Blass, Sports Co-editor

This semester, the women’s club squash team achieved its highest ranking in the club’s history. For the first time since the club was created at the University, the team competed in the E Division of the Women’s College Squash Association National Team Championship at Yale University. The Bison placed second at the championship against Georgetown, and increased their ranking to No. 3 overall.

“A year ago we never would have dreamed of making it to the championship of our division, so it was such an incredible way to end the season and my career as a player. The team has so much depth and I believe they will continue competing at a higher level each and every year,” Ellie Barker ’16 said.

At the tournament, the Orange and Blue defeated University of Rochester 9-0, and then triumphed over Johns Hopkins 7-2. For the first time in the short history of the women’s squash team, the Bison advanced to their division’s championship game. The women fell to Georgetown University 4-5 in the final game, but each match was hard-fought. The Bison’s No. 1 seed, Kelly Clark ’19, had an impressive performance to win the last match in only five games.

Squash is a racquet sport and is played in singles competition by the University’s women’s club team. It is played with a hollow rubber ball that does not bounce much unless it is heated up through hitting it. In college competition, each team has nine scored players, and each match is played out of the best of five games. Each game is played to 11 points, and the best of nine wins the overall match.

As captain Sarah Antonacci ’16 recalls, the 2012-2013 season was the first year that the women’s squash team was independent from the men’s. Antonacci and her teammates took control of the team and have helped build the program to where it is today. The team recruits extra players through meetings and events such as the Activities Unlimited Fair during New Student Orientation; in addition, it reaches out to high school students visiting the University.

Antonacci said that her experiences with squash in high school were very rewarding, and she was excited to continue that experience in college.

“I took leadership and have been captain all four seasons,” Antonacci said. “We do not receive funding from the school; we rely heavily on donations and fundraising. I’m extremely proud of the team and what it has grown to be and I can’t wait to see what the next captains achieve!”

Along with practicing about three times a week, the team also travels to cities like New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore to compete with teams in the College Squash Association (CSA),  including teams of both club and varsity status. The women also compete in Nationals at the conclusion of each season.

“I am so glad the club squash team was such a big part of my Bucknell experience and I wish I could do it all over again,” Barker said.

Even though club members are in different class years and have other campus commitments, their common interest in squash has made them a tight-knit team. Though the team will be losing Antonacci, Barker, Caroline Cutler ’16, and Ellie Stout ‘16, the club’s future looks bright with an incredibly dynamic roster.

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