RHS Girl’s Squash
Garnets Net League Championship Again
By Melanie Cane
For the sixth consecutive year, Rye High Girls’ Squash Team 1 won the Championship Division of the Fairwest Girl’s Tournament. They defeated rival New Haven 5-2 at Yale over the February 9-10 weekend.
Over 100 girls from the growing league competed in the tournament, with teams divided into three brackets: Championship, Varsity Silver, and JV. Rye Varsity 2 won the Silver division, defeating New Haven B, and Rye JV Red defeated Fairfield Ludlowe High School in the JV division.
Rye’s Team 1 was comprised of nine players including senior tri-captains and four-year Varsity players Sophie Barber, KJ Langer, and Beatrice Flynn. They achieved an impressive 19-5 record. The players recapped their final match against New Haven: “Everyone had really competitive matches. Olivia Dabinett had an amazing match. She fought hard for every point and ended up winning in four games. It was the best squash we have ever seen her play. Emma Kahle helped us clinch the win as well with an incredible five-game match.” Barber won in a great match against a girl she seesawed with all season.
The weekend before the league championship, the top five players from Team 1 competed in Nationals in Westminster, Connecticut. They were the only team representing a public high school and they exceeded expectations by finishing 12th among many elite clubs and private schools. Barber declared, “We have the best public high school Girls’ Squash team in the country!”
Rye began the season not knowing what to expect, given that their No. 1 and No. 3 players had graduated. Through hard work and focus the girls excelled. Langer said every player contributed a different strength. Flynn concurred: “As a result, we had a very deep, well-rounded team. Dabinett showed true grit, Clare Cassidy played tremendously, even though she often had to play up a spot when players were absent. Flynn kept long points with her stellar rallies, Barber tricked out her opponents with her killer boast drop, and new addition Emily Kahle came in hot with her powerful serves, Steffi Rodilosso drops the ball millimeters above the tin, Sarah Hodulik catches her opponent off guard every time she hits the ball at off the charts speed, and Margaret Scully places the ball beautifully in the back corner with her lobs.”
The captains said it was an amazing season. “We’re so proud of everything Rye Girls’ Squash accomplished throughout our four years. Everyone worked very hard at practice and it showed in our record. Mike Callaway, the squash pro at Lifetime, helped us a lot. It also helped that we’re a very close-knit team, all of who play with fire and grace as they battle it out on the court. Win or lose we always supported one another, that’s what stands out from the whole season. A.” They added, “We are going to miss Coach Campbell and the team next year.”
When 65 Rye High girls came to tryouts this season, Coach Tony Campbell said he was overwhelmed. “I didn’t want to turn anyone away!” Almost all remained in the program. Forty girls played on the Varsity and JV interscholastic teams and another 20 participated in developmental clinics run by Lifetime Athletic. “The access to the great instruction and facilities at Lifetime continues to draw high school girls to this winter sport. They enjoy the workout, competition, and camaraderie of the game. That’s something I want to encourage.”
Captions: KJ Langer, in foreground, and Beatrice Flynn