2018-19 Squash Year In Review

Group photo of the 2018-19 Lyons squash team.

It was a banner year for the Mount Holyoke College squash team, led once again by head coach Erin Robson in her seventh season at the helm. The Lyons boasted a 16-9 overall mark, captured its third straight – 11th overall – Seven Sisters title, while , which went 8-14, captured its second straight – 10th overall – Seven Sisters Title, while also advancing to the Walker Cup (C Division) at the CSA National Championships.

The Lyons opened up the season on fire with five consecutive victories. Mount Holyoke's first victory came in 9-0 fashion against Fordham University, followed by 9-0 wins over Georgetown and Vassar in tri-match action on November 3rd.  MHC followed that up with other 9-0 win against Fordham the following weekend, as well as an 8-0 win against Rochester at the Bard College Round Robin.

Mount Holyoke closed the opening month with its toughest opponent of the season, shouldering a 9-0 loss to #2 Trinity. The Lyons, ranked 28th at this point of the season, rebounded with wins over Northeastern and St. Lawrence before falling by a tough 5-4 margin against #22 Hamilton. It marked the first win by the Lyons over the Saints since the 2011-12 season.

The month of January proved to be outstanding for the Lyons, who went 6-4 overall and eventually moved from #28 to #25 in the women's team rankings. Among their wins were against #25 Bowdoin, #26 Connecticut College, #28 Haverford, #21 Wesleyan, #39 Bard and #24 William Smith.

Mount Holyoke headed into February on a high note. The Lyons – now ranked #22 – opened with a tough 7-2 loss to #17 Amherst, but rebounded to earn their third consecutive Seven Sisters crown with wins over #47 Smith and #34 Vassar. Senior captains Ragini Ghose, Lessly Portillo and Tanishka Sachidanand were all named to the All-Tournament Team

Heading into the CSA National Championships, the #21 Lyons shouldered a tough 6-3 loss to #20 Franklin & Marshall in the opener. MHC rebounded with a 5-4 win over St. Lawrence to advance to the Walker Cup Consolation Championship against #23 Wesleyan. Despite wins from the top of the ladder by rookie Mihiliya Kalahe Arachchige and senior Nadindhi Udangawa at two, the Lyons fell by a 7-2 margin to the Cardinals.

Kalahe Arachchige and Udangawa went on to compete at the CSA Individual Nationals where the rookie had outstanding success. Competing in the Holleran Cup North Division, Kalahe Arachchige finished as the National Runner-up, falling by a 9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9 margin to a player from Trinity.

For the season, Kalahe Arachichge led all Lyons players with a 23-2 overall mark, finishing just one win short of All-America Second Team honors – all from the top of the ladder. Ghose – who was a CSA Scholar-Athlete - posted a 16-7 overall record, including 10-4 at three, while Udangawa owned a 12-3 mark at two. Also having a successful rookie campaign was Maeve Watts-Roy, who went 15-7, including 9-5 from four.

Additionally, the Lyons were awarded the CSA Most Improved Team Award for 2018-19, having moved up six spots in the national rankings, which was three more than the next closest team.