Women’s Squash best in the province for eighth year in a row

Queen’s hosts OUA Squash Championships at the ARC

Image supplied by: Supplied by James Paddle Grant
This banner marks the Gaels fourth OUA gold this year.

Queen’s hosted the Men’s and Women’s OUA Squash Championship this weekend at the ARC, and the women won gold after three days of rigorous competition. The men’s team also found success with a fourth-place finish.

“It feels great, I’m super proud of our team,” Maddie O’Connor said of the victory in a press release. “Everyone worked super hard. We came in ready to go and I’m proud of everyone.”

O’Connor kept a perfect record throughout the tournament and was awarded Athlete of the Week by Queen’s for her performance.

“I just hope we can keep it up as long as we can,” O’Connor said of keeping the eight-year streak alive.

Preparation for the tournament began in September. In the months leading up to the OUAs, the team ranks its players, researches their competition, and works on building team chemistry.

In university level squash programs, each team consists of seven players ranked one through seven by their coaches and team based on skill. Then, at each match, the opponents are matched based on their ranking. The player ranked one on the Queen’s team would play Western’s first ranked player, as an example.

During the season, the team will play challenge matches internally to determine who should receive which rank. Although highly competitive, these matches also help build community among the players.

“I’m super close with all the girls on the team. Throughout the last four years I’ve made some of my best friends through the team,” Team Captain Heather McLachlan said in an interview with The Journal.

In the days leading up to the OUA tournament, McLachlan revealed the team was “most nervous for the pressure of winning another one.”

Despite the team’s past success, however, they remain unnoticed on campus. The team is well known in the greater squash community outside of Kingston, however.

“A bunch of players want to come to Queen’s if they are a squash player,” McLachlan said. “They look at Queen’s and they are like yeah I want to go; I want to be part of that team.”

Men’s Team Captain Stephen Messier has thoroughly enjoyed his squash career at Queen’s so far.

“It’s a great way for me to stay active and still have that competitive environment through university,” he said.

The coaches are an important element of this team’s road to success. Both the captains of the men’s and women’s teams spoke highly of their leadership.

“She’s super passionate about the sport,” McLachlan said of Women’s Head Coach Lisa Coates.

“[She’s] at practice every day and she comes up with a perfect plan and really keeps the team connected. It’s almost like a family. We owe a lot to her.”

Messier had similar praise for Men’s Head Coach Eugene Zaremba.

“Eugene has been a part of the squash team for, I think, longer than I’ve been alive. He’s a very experienced coach and he’s got a lot of experience as a player.”

Although the team season is now over, the Gaels are looking forward to opportunities to play individually in March.


ARC, champions, OUA, Squash

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