Northampton, MA — Most varsity programs only have a few, if any, players who learned squash in college. The Smith starting line-up, on the other hand, is almost entirely made up of players with little or no pre-college squash experience. As a result, the Pioneers’ goals are focused more towards individual growth and skill development than wins and rankings.
Two Smith players did come to the team with squash experience. Seniors Shanita Williams and Jaye Cooke are SquashBusters alumnae. Williams has played at or near the top of the Pioneers’ line-up throughout her college squash career, and Cooke has been a solid performer in the middle of the ladder. Both will continue to provide on-court leadership for the team.
The other returning members of the Smith team should continue to improve throughout the season. Senior Alice Reznickova has been a team leader, serving as captain since her sophomore year. Junior Meg Oliverio and sophomore Joanne Poon, a former badminton player, have both demonstrated natural ability. Oliverio in particular has consistently challenged opponents who have more experience, and both she and Poon should have more competitive matches as they develop and refine their skills.
It’s hard to predict who will fill out the Smith roster; a future Wetzel Award winner might be picking up a squash racquet for the first time in a phys ed class this fall. The Pioneers will almost certainly have a challenging season. But if the past is anything to go by, they’ll also be an much stronger team by the end of the season.
2008-2009 Season Recap
SEASON RECORD: 3-14
FINAL RANKING: 30th
NATIONAL TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS: 30th; 6th in Epps Cup (D Division)
2009-2010 Season Preview
Returning Players from Team Championships: Shanita Williams ’10 (1); Meg Oliverio ’11 (3); Alice Reznickova ’10 (4); Jacinth Cooke ’11 (5); Jasmine Wallas ’11 (6); Elizabeth Guyman ’11 (7); Joanne Poon ’12 (8); Su Fu ’10 (12)
Graduating Players from Team Championships: Jess MacLeod (2); Mercedes Pepper (9); Liz Hughes (10); Julia Howald (11)
Captains: Alice Reznickova and Elizabeth Guyman
Team Goals: To improve skills
Key Matches: Wellesley, Wesleyan Invitational, and the Women’s Collegiate Team Championships
To read other team previews, please visit the 2009 – 2010 College Squash Preview Page.
(Photo Credit: Michael T. Bello)