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The Voice

Squashing the Competition: A Look at the SSSAS Squash Team

During the winter season, SSSAS offers a variety of different sports: basketball, ice hockey, winter track, swimming, and, now, squash. Squash is a relatively new sport at SSSAS that started in 2019, but this is the first year in the history of the sport at Saint Stephen’s and St. Agnes where there have been enough players to have both a girls and boys team. 

If you didn’t know, squash is played in an indoor court with three walls the ball can bounce off of. Once a player serves the ball, the players take turns hitting the ball against the back wall with racquets, above the line close to the ground and below the top red line. Head Coach Gerrity stated he “would describe it somewhat like tennis except you are playing in a big box where the ball can bounce in any direction.”

Originally, the sport was only offered in the middle school, but later expanded to the upper school with the middle school students when they started as freshmen.

In an interview with Coach Koroma, she stated, “We wanted to offer squash the first year prior to COVID, so that year, we were like, we’d love to have another winter offering. If you don’t want to swim, or if you don’t play basketball, or you don’t want to wrestle, we wanted another competitive indoor option.”

This season is the biggest roster the team has ever had, with thirty players in total, 10 of whom are girls. Last season, there were only two girls on the team, making it impossible for them to compete in matches as their own team. 

“This is the first year where we have two teams, because we’ve kind of done Co-Ed, which has been tough for the girls, because most of the schools that we play are all boys,” Koroma noted. 

To hear about the players’ experiences, we interviewed members of the team, some new and some with more experience, to get their perspectives on the sport. 

Freshman Olivia Heilmeier, who has been playing for two years, stated that her favorite part of squash is “getting to spend time with my friends and playing a fun sport.” 

Sophomore Georgia Neaderland shared, My favorite part of squash is the fact that when you are playing with your opponent, because you’re in such close proximity in such a small court, it feels like a very personal game. It really is just your skill versus their skill.”

We also talked with Coach Gerrity to hear about his background with squash and how he came to be the head coach. Gerrity shared, “I started playing squash outside of Philadelphia when I was pretty young, and played at the Haverford School in middle school and St. Andrew’s in high school. I also played for a couple of years on a club team at the University of Michigan. After graduating, I played squash with friends for fun while living in San Francisco. That’s also where I began coaching at an after school non-profit squash club.”

Currently, the sport is only offered at the JV level, but there are hopes for it to become a varsity team in the coming years. Coach Koroma explained, “We’re hopeful next year it will evolve into a varsity team, either boys and or girls depending on if they’re ready for that jump, and then also support a JV team underneath that.”

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