Holding Serve

Posted in From the DAC, Summer 2017

Drexel’s squash teams returned to post-season competition and sent a number of top players head to head against top-tier schools at
national individual championships this winter. By Britt Faulstick

In just their sixth year of varsity competition, Drexel’s men’s and women’s squash teams under Head Coach John White continued their push to the front of an Ivy-dominated line for entry to the circle of the sport’s elite.

“Both teams had very strong performances during the season,” White says. “The men defeating five of the Ivy schools, including Yale twice, have proven that they can and will challenge any teams that they are up against. The women also proved this with their very strong second half of the season, beating Williams and then Brown to reach the final of the Kurtz Cup to put them back in the top 10.”

The men’s team earned its first bid to the “A” division post-season tournament, the Potter Cup. Though they were rudely dismissed in the opening round by No. 3 Columbia, the Dragons knocked off Yale while clawing their way to the finals of the consolation bracket.

The Dragons sent six players to the individual championships, with junior Atticus Kelly winning the Molloy Division West consolation final in a gritty five-game victory over his opponent from Williams College. Senior Michael Thompson capped a stellar career with 16 wins on the season, including an untarnished 9-0 record playing in the No. 4 position, to make him the program’s all-time leader in career victories with 63. He also earned the Harrow Sports College Squash Men’s Player of the Week honor after leading the Dragons to a win over their crosstown
rival, sixth-ranked Penn, in December.

During the season the Drexel men registered first-time victories over top-10 programs Penn, Yale and Dartmouth and dispatched Ivy rival Princeton for the third time, en route to a debut in the College Squash Association’s top five.

On the women’s side, junior Ryan Morgan played her way into the main draw championship game of the Holleran Division West bracket at the national individual championship. Morgan, who was one of five Dragons to qualify for the championship, was the team’s stalwart in the No. 1 position this season. Morgan served early notice to her opponent from Columbia that it would not be a hotly contested match by claiming a 11-4 win in the opening game. While she ultimately folded in four games, Morgan’s perseverance exemplified the Dragons’ tenacity this season.

The Drexel women entered the year as a preseason top-10 team and honored the ranking by upsetting Williams and Brown while advancing to the Kurtz Cup finals for the second year in a row. The Dragons ultimately fell in a tight 5-4 match to a Dartmouth team that has claimed the title in three of the last five seasons.

White, who has plotted the program’s course since its inception, sees this season’s progress as a sign that it’s right on track for arrival among the nation’s best.