Women’s squash wins fifth straight OUA title

Gaels go undefeated to defend provincial title, men place second

The women’s squash team won OUA gold.
The women’s squash team won OUA gold.
Credit: 
Supplied by Sydney Maxwell

Few teams at Queen’s understand dominance better than the women’s squash team.

This past weekend, the Gaels defended their OUA banner for the fifth consecutive year, sweeping the tournament competition 42-0. The men’s team finished with a silver medal behind the Western Mustangs, who claimed their 36th championship in a row.

First-year Sydney Maxwell was named OUA women’s MVP and Rookie of the Year after winning all six of her matches. Having won the Jester’s University League Crossover tournament three weeks earlier, the Gaels went into the tournament as its top seed.

“I wouldn’t say there was pressure,” Maxwell said. “We felt pretty confident going in.”

In six fixtures against the opposing six teams, the Gaels won each of its matchups, unwilling to lose a single match. Queen’s swept Western in the finals, dropping just a single game. At final count, the Gaels won 126 games and lost four.

Maxwell, the cornerstone to the Gaels’ success, attributed the team’s overall chemistry to helping her on the court in her first OUA championship.

“In some of my matches I put the pressure on myself,” she said. “It’s as much of a team sport as it is individual. I think some of [my matches] I’d go up and I’d lose the next [game], so it’d get a little scary, but the coaches and teammates would calm me down.”

Along with the team’s four other top players, Maxwell played six matches over the course of the three-day tournament. After winning her first ma on Friday, she fought through three matches on Saturday and two more on Sunday.

“Everyone was so exhausted,” Maxwell said. “You’re not just playing, you’re watching everyone’s matches. You start at 9 a.m. and you’ll play, then watch the whole team until you play at 1 p.m. again.”

The women’s squash program, now owning a half decade worth of championships, has quickly developed into an OUA dynasty. Maxwell said the team’s success has blossomed because they’ve recruited experienced talent across Ontario—which ultimately comes back to the strength the program has been able to show.

“I chose Queen’s because I knew they had a strong program,” Maxwell said, adding that as a recruit, reputation matters. “[It] makes a difference.”

In addition, Queen’s squad is one of the few in Ontario that has players who’ve competed at the junior level prior to arriving at Queen’s. She said the team’s history of in-match experience is what sets them apart from other programs in the OUA.

“They have experience, and they want to play more. I think that was the case [this year]. We have a really deep lineup,” she said.

Looking to win a sixth consecutive banner in 2019-20, Maxwell said the Gaels are on track to maintain their competitiveness in the OUA—as well as their spirit of the game.

“Everyone on the team loves to play, it’s not just about the winning.”

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