Women’s squash crushes both Hamilton and Bates 9–0 over senior day weekend

A member of the Tufts women's squash team is pictured on Feb. 1, 2020. Nicole Garay / The Tufts Daily

Over the weekend, the No. 11 Tufts women’s squash team took on the visiting Hamilton Continentals during a senior day matchup. Not only did the Jumbos emerge victorious, but they also extended their winning streak to six with a score of 9–0. The next day, the ’Bos took down Bates with the same powerful 9–0 score to finish off their in-conference season.

To kick off the festivities against Hamilton, Tufts honored senior Isa Schneider, who was out with an injury, before moving on to the competition, where the Jumbos swiftly knocked down all nine matches in a thorough sweep of the Continentals.

The next day, the Jumbos further boosted their record, setting the longest winning streak since the 2016–17 season to put the cherry on top of a powerful weekend of wins against Wesleyan in addition to Hamilton and Bates.

First-year No. 1 Vharsha Dinesh led the team with an impressive start against Hamilton of 11–6, 11–8, and 11–8 with the next eight spots following suit with just as stellar outcomes. Against the Bobcats, Dinesh continued her streak by defeating Bates’ Andrea Martagon with scores of 11–7, 11–9, 9–11 and 11–7.

Dinesh was not the only Jumbo to earn some career highlights against Bates. Junior No. 7 seed Ami Sao solidified her seven-match win record with scores of 11–3, 11–3 and 11–2, and junior No. 6 Sanjana Vissapragada upped her record to a team-leading 11–2 with an 11–0, 11–5 and 11–6 win.

In an interview with the Daily, Dinesh detailed more about the weekend’s success and the team’s general morale. She discussed how she was feeling going into the face-off with Hamilton.

“It was very intense, of course, because I’m playing No. 1,” Dinesh said. “All the No. 1 players are definitely good, and we were hoping to crush them 9–0, so we were all going in on our toes, making sure every player played a really good match, and I think all of us did.”

She continued to say how even in an individual sport like squash, the team’s chemistry is present both on and off the court.

“Back in Malaysia, I always played individual games so coming here the team was really welcoming,” Dinesh said. “They’re actually my family, [and] I spend most of my time with them.”

Dinesh explained how — especially as a first-year — it feels good to have her team rally behind her.

“In the first few games in the season I was losing a lot,” Dinesh said. “But now I’ve been coming up and they’ve been encouraging me the whole [time]. … I actually had an ankle injury at the beginning of the season, but now it’s better, and [the team has] always been supporting me. … It’s a good team.”

Dinesh also dove into her pregame mindset and preparation. 

“I tend to go into a game thinking not just [of] winning a game but actually playing my best and giving a really good fight,” Dinesh said. “But also [I think about] pulling through whatever injuries [I may have] to make sure I make my team proud and make sure they know that I put my best performance out there.”

As the season starts to come to an end, Dinesh talked about some of her favorite moments thus far.

“I think [beating] Stanford was definitely the best feeling because we were ranked below them,” Dinesh said. “We were ranked 12th and they were 11th. We were there early and we were training hard right before we met them. … I even played my best squash, and even though I lost I was very satisfied.”

Dinesh finally shared what she’s looking forward to in the weeks to come.

“I’m definitely hoping that our team will get into the top 10,” Dinesh said. “We’re aiming to beat Dartmouth, which is just a rank above us. We recently lost to them but it was a close match. … So, we might have a chance the next time we play them in … nationals. That’s the main goal for all of us.”

While this weekend wraps up regular NESCAC play for the season, Tufts will travel to play No. 2 Harvard University on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

//test comment