For the men’s squash team, the season couldn’t be off to a better start. In four matches, they have gone 4-0, winning three by margins of 9-0 and the last 7-2. These matches have come against Bowdoin, Connecticut College, Vassar, and Haverford. As of right now, the team is nationally ranked at number eighteen.
The first match of the season came at Bowdoin, who, at the time, was nationally ranked at number twenty-seven. In that match, they won every game except for two in the 9-0 win. Up and down the lineup the team performed well, with Mahmoud Yousry ’20 and Graham Bonnell ’20 holding down the top two positions with 3-0 wins. Captains Anirudh Nambiar ’18 and McLeod Abbot ’19 also won their games at the fourth and fifth spots. On the beginning of the season, Abbot says, “So far I’m incredibly happy with the season. We’ve inserted three freshmen into the lineup and they’ve all performed better than expected. With the loss of several seniors last year we definitely needed some of the younger guys to step up.” He also made a point to shout out Bonnell, who has improved greatly so far this season. “The MVP of the season so far is without a doubt Graham Bonnell. He trained harder than anybody this summer and moved from playing seven last year to firmly playing number two, knocking on the door of the number one spot. I’m excited to see his game progress over the rest of the season,” Abbot states.
After this match, the Bobcats moved on to defeat Connecticut College. Next on the slate was matchups with Haverford and Vassar on Saturday, December 2. Bates won both of these matches as well and now sit at 4-0, maintaining their national ranking of eighteenth. On Saturday, Bates outplayed Vassar, with every player on the Bates team winning their games 3-0. In the afternoon matchup with Haverford, it was a little tougher but still a dominant win. Despite dropping two of the games, they still managed to win 7-2. As of right now, the Bobcats’ men’s team is off to their best start in seven years, in which they also began 4-0. Their next match is on January 12 against Middlebury. Looking forward to the season ahead, Nambiar says, “I fully believe that this team has the ability to be one of the twelve best teams in the country. We have a lot of quality on this team and with the right push, this team will be able to go very far this season.”
The women’s team has also started their season and although it has not gone as perfectly, they are still in a good position. They are 2-2 thus far, with wins over Bowdoin and Haverford and losses to Connecticut College and Vassar. Although 2-2 is not the ideal record at this point, both losses have been only by one game scores of 5-4.
On Saturday, December 2, Bates played well at the top of their lineups, going undefeated through their first four positions in both matches. The first match, against Vassar, was a 5-4 defeat. The four athletes in these top positions were, in order of one to four, Luca Polgar ’20, Vicky Arjoon ’19, Maeve O’Brien ’21, and Katie Manternach ’21. The Bobcats were unable to finish in this match against Vassar, who was ranked number twenty-nine nationally, dropping the later games and losing overall 5-4. However, in the afternoon match with Haverford, ranked number thirty nationally, the Bobcats had a better showing. They swept positions one through four and then won 3-0 at positions five and six. Positions one through four were won by the same athletes as the morning match, mentioned previously. Five and six were won by Hannah Conner ’18 and Cata Robert ’18, both by scores of 3-0. With these six wins at the top of the slate, they were able to hold on to the lead and win 6-3.
“There is definitely a space for improvement since we have a huge range of experience across the team,” Arjoon says. “Each player, international or not, brings something new to the table. Regardless of where you play on the ladder, you always have the ability to learn something new, or even teach something to another teammate.”
Although the women’s team is only .500 right now, their losses have been closely contested, and the rest of their season looks bright. Their next match is on January 12 against Middlebury.
“Like years past, there has always been a visible jump in skill from the beginning of the year towards the end when we go to NESCACs and Nationals because we are constantly exposed to a variety of skilled teams,” Arjoon says. “The College Squash Circuit has become increasingly competitive over the years, so we’re looking to crack the Top 12 at Nationals and show them what Bates has to offer!”
“There is an amazing team dynamic present on the team this year, considering we have four of our teammates who aren’t at Bates right now,” Arjoon continues. “They will contribute a lot of depth to the roster in January when they return, so this addition will certainly make the group much more competitive than we already are.”