SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – This week’s Lyon of the Week has been announced and the honors go to the Mount Holyoke College squash team. The Lyons earned the award after an outstanding effort at the 2017 College Squash Association (CSA) Team Championships at Princeton last weekend.
The squad has posted a tremendous effort over the past two weeks, winning six of their last seven matches. Last weekend at the CSA Championships, MHC competed in the Epps Cup, facing off against several familiar foes.
Much as they had two weeks earlier, the 29th-ranked Lyons opened CSA action against 28th-ranked Vassar. Victories in the second through sixth position paved the way to a 7-2 victory. Sophomores Ragini Ghose and Nadindhi Udangawa, senior captain Allison Shilling, sophomore Lessly Portillo and junior Emily Chang also found the win column, along with graduate student Rose Minichiello and senior captain Amanda Lee from the eighth and ninth positions, all helped propel the Lyons into the Cup Semifinals.
A tough task awaited MHC as they faced 25th-ranked Colby in the semifinals, falling by an 8-1 margin despite a 3-1 victory from Udangawa at three. Mount Holyoke, which battled injury and illness throughout the weekend, then faced 27th-ranked Wellesley on Sunday. The match would determine who would finish third overall in the Epps Cup for 2017.
Ghose and Udangawa once again prevailed from two and three, while Portillo, Chang, sophomore Tanishka Sachidanand, Minichiello and Lee all won from fifth through ninth to seal the 7-2 victory and earn the Lyons third overall.
The effort put forth by the Lyons at the CSA Championships was the perfect end to a two-week span that saw MHC go 6-1. On February 11, Mount Holyoke hosted the 2017 Seven Sisters Championships, welcoming Vassar, Smith College and Wellesley to Kendall.
Despite a tough road, having gone 1-15 over their previous games, the Lyons stepped up with a 9-0 win over the #33 Pioneers, and 8-1 wins over then-#28 Wellesley and then-#27 Vassar. The outstanding effort, which saw six different players post 3-0 records on the day, not only gave the Lyons their ninth Seven Sisters crown, but also saw the team jump in the national rankings.
Mount Holyoke also added a 5-4 road victory over 29th-ranked Connecticut College on February 17, a team they had previously lost to earlier in the season. For their efforts over the past three weeks, culminating with CSA Championships, the squad will finish the year ranked #27 in the nation.
The Lyons now wait to see who might be selected to compete at the final competition of the season, the 2017 CSA Individual National Championships. Selections have not yet been announced, stay tuned for more information.