They have no coaches. They have little money. And they have no adequate University practice facilities.
But the men’s and women’s squash teams at UVA have lots of spunk and talent, judging from national championships they brought home from a tournament at Harvard in February.
The women defeated Colgate (8-1), Columbia (6-3) and Wesleyan (7-2) to claim the Epps Cup in Division D. The men bested Fordham (8-1), Drexel (6-3) and Colgate (7-2) to take the Chafee Cup in Division E.
The Drexel match was particularly tense, says Patrick Whelan, president and captain of the men’s team. The Cavs were down 1-2 after the first round (three pairs play at a time in three rounds). “We were in a tight spot because we knew that their No. 1 player was a very, very good player and probably would beat our No. 1 player. But we ended up winning all three and went on to win 6-3.”
The women’s squad benefited from some expert guidance. One of the players’ parents arranged to have top pro Natalie Granger come coach before the tournament.
“It was very cool to have the world’s No. 1 player in Charlottesville,” says co-captain Sarah Hawkins.
UVA has won squash championships before—the women in 2006, the men in 2003. Both squads look for the sport to gain interest and, possibly, evolve into a varsity program.
“The players and parents would love that,” Whelan says.