GW Squash Set to Open 2011-12 Season

Islam El-Fiky

Nov. 3, 2011

WASHINGTON - The George Washington men's and women's squash teams open the 2011-12 season Friday afternoon at home against district rival Georgetown at the Matthew J. Grossman Squash Courts at Lerner Health & Wellness Center.

Head coach Wendy Lawrence enters her fifth season as head coach of the men's team and second season at the helm of the women's program.

In 2011, both the men's and women's teams finished with their highest end-of-season rankings in program history. The men's team finished as the 18th-ranked team in the College Squash Association poll while the women finished the season at No. 15.

Additionally, both teams secured their highest pre-season ranking in program history entering the 2011-12 campaign. The CSA ranks the GW men's team at No. 17 and the women's team at No. 14.

2011-12 Men's Squash Outlook

The GW men's squash team concluded its best season in program history with an appearance in the Summers Cup (C Division) Championship match at the CSA Team Nationals. The Colonials fell to Bowdoin, 5-4, but head coach Wendy Lawrence sees the improvement as a stepping stone to continue the climb in the national rankings.

The Colonials will host five matches at the Matthew J. Grossman Squash Courts at Lerner Health & Wellness Center, starting with Friday's season opener against Georgetown. GW will also play host to Haverford (Nov. 20), No. 12 St. Lawrence (Jan. 18), Vanderbilt (Feb. 4) and Johns Hopkins (Feb. 4).

The 2011-12 schedule features 13 matches against teams ranked in the top 25 including No. 1 Trinity (Dec. 3), No. 3 Princeton (Dec. 10), No. 8 Franklin & Marshall (Feb. 10) and No. 10 Williams College (Jan. 14). Additionally, the Colonials will face No. 18 Bowdoin, the team that beat them in the Summer Cup Championship match, two times this season (Dec. 3, Jan. 28).

"We are hoping to continue the climb in the national rankings and be in the top 16 in the country by February," said Coach Lawrence. "This would clinch our first appearance in the Hoehn Cup (B Division). That is our goal this season and I feel it is very attainable."



Junior Islam El-Fiky returns as the top player for the Colonials in 2011-12. El-Fiky was dominant in his debut season at GW, playing to an 18-2 individual record from the top position on the ladder.

El-Fiky is joined in the top three by junior Omar Sobhy and senior Jose Calderon. Sobhy finished last season with a 21-2 record and became GW's first-ever individual champion with a dominant performance - defeating five players from top-five programs - in the Malloy Cup (B Division) championship.

Calderon notched six wins last year, but was hampered by an ankle injury for much of the season. "Jose spent the offseason working very hard in his rehabilitation and I expect him to be 100 percent to start off this season," said Coach Lawrence.

Senior captain Adam Pistel returns as the No. 4 player for the Colonials after an impressive 14-6 campaign last season. Pistel had to pull out of team nationals with a sudden illness and his presence was missed as the Colonials were narrowly defeated by Bowdoin. "We are counting on Adam to hold down the No. 4 position for us this year" said Coach Lawrence.

Joining Pistel in the middle three are juniors Sam Ehrlich and Player Haynes, who combined for 33 victories last season. Rounding out the lineup are sophomores Chris Bell and Larkin Brinkworth and senior Brett Feldman.

Freshman David Moxley is the only newcomer on the team and should see time in the bottom half of the ladder throughout the season.

2011-12 Women's Squash Outlook

The GW women's squash team concluded the 2010-11 season with a 5-4 upset of No. 14 Columbia to secure its highest ranking in program history as the 15th-ranked team in the country. The Colonials have since moved up an additional spot in the poll and are now the No. 14 team in the country entering the 2011-12 campaign.

"Our goal this season is to continue to move up in the B Division," said Coach Lawrence. "We have three new players on the team that we are expecting to contribute this season in addition to our returning core."

The Colonials have a challenging road ahead with a schedule that features 11 teams in the top 25 of the CSA rankings, including four matches against top 10 teams. GW will face off against No. 3 Princeton (Dec. 10), No. 4 Trinity (Dec. 3), No. 6 Stanford (Jan. 14) and No. 9 Williams College (Jan. 14).

Additionally, the Colonials host five matches at the Matthew J. Grossman Squash Courts at Lerner Health & Wellness Center.

Sophomores Jackie Shea, Kelly Barnes and Elizabeth Tapley will open the season as the top three players on the ladder, respectively. Shea and Barnes each won 13 matches in their debut seasons at GW while Tapley added 11 individual victories.

"Jackie, Kelly and Elizabeth all surprised us last season," said Coach Lawrence. "They all made an immediate impact and were consistent throughout the season. They will be leading us on the court throughout the season and I am looking forward to seeing how they compete in their sophomore seasons."

Lauren Mathieu returns for her senior season after an 11 victory junior campaign and will open the season as the No. 4 player on the ladder. Senior Tiffany Hingley will hold down the No. 5 position after posting 13 wins last season. Rounding out the top six is senior Caroline Shumway, who contributed five victories last season in limited action.

Sophomores Maya Nair and Becca Imrich will open the season at Nos. 7 and 8, respectively, while freshman Adrianne Calderon will open her debut season at No. 9. Calderon, a transfer from Charlotte, is the younger sister of men's squash player Jose Calderon.

Rounding out the lineup is sophomore Catherine Ehrlich and freshmen Charlie Merison and Margeaux Abrams, all of whom are expected to contribute to the lineup throughout the season.

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