Winning the Mercersburg Tournament is getting to be old hat for the MICDS Rams girls squash team.
The girls made the trip to Mercersburg, Pa., and came away winning the Tom Flanagan Invitational Tournament for the fourth consecutive year.
The Rams successfully defeated The Potomac School (Va.), Mercersburg Academy (Pa.), and Nardin Academy High School by scores of 9-0 to win their pool.
Coach Robyn Williams said the event is a big one. The girls always circle the calendar for it.
“The Mercersburg Tournament is definitely one that the team looks forward to,” Williams said. “They are able to travel out of town for the weekend and play competitive matches against east coast schools. We’ve won the Mercersburg tournament the last 3 years, so the girls were looking forward to defending their title again.”
The trip is a good one for the team to come together, Williams said.
“We fly from St. Louis to Washington, D.C. and then drive about two hours to Mercersburg Academy,” Williams said. “It is definitely a good bonding experience for the team. I think that’s why the girls love it so much. They come back to St. Louis as a stronger team- with squash and the bonds between the players.”
The Rams were going against good teams again. The tournament was divided into two pools.
Naturally, the teams vary in strength each year because of graduation.
“This year they had a few strong teams in each pool,” Williams said.
Before pool play began, MICDS played a warm-up match against Buffalo Seminary. The Rams won 8-1.
The Rams performed well in the tournament. MICDS won all three matches it played in Pool A.
“The girls went out and played hard in each of those matches,” Williams said. “We have a fairly young team, many of whom were on JV last year, a lot of sophomores, so it was awesome to see them step up and compete in a competitive environment.
“I was really impressed with my sophomore players. Most of them haven’t traveled to play squash before, yet they played with intensity and composure as if they had competed on a higher level.”
After the tournament was over, MICDS played an extra match that wasn’t originally on the schedule, Williams said.
“(It was) against an extremely strong St. Catherine’s School, which we ended up losing,” Williams said. “St. Catherine’s (of Richmond, Va.) won their Pool B. We asked to play them after the tournament was over because we wanted to push ourselves against a much stronger team. We knew going into that match that they would be a difficult team to beat.”
The loss did not dampen the experience for the girls.
“I would say that it was a successful trip for the team,” Williams said. “We learned a lot and know what we need to work on for the remainder of the season.”
Williams said she is pleased with the start the girls are having so far this season.
“Absolutely. They are coming together as a team, working hard at practice, and having fun while they working hard,” Williams said. “Their match play is getting stronger and the younger girls are gaining more match experience and exposure which is definitely needed for squash.”
After the winter break, the Rams will have about one month left of the season.
“Our focus will be on competing at the U.S. Squash High School Nationals, which is the first weekend in February,” Williams said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how our young team will do this year.”