Sacred Heart Greenwich Squash players serve their way to Nationals


Sacred Heart Greenwich athletes served their way into the 2018 HEAD US High School Squash Team Championships Friday, February 2 to Sunday, February 4 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sacred Heart has three different squash teams including varsity, junior varsity (JV), and thirds. As squash becomes an increasingly popular sport across New England, the program at Sacred Heart continues to grow in size each year. 
The 2018 HEAD US High School Squash Championships is the world’s largest squash tournament, with more than 1,300 players, according to ussquash.comThis year, 16 girls from Sacred Heart Greenwich’s varsity and JV squash teams competed in a total of seven matches in the National Championships. For the first time in three years, the varsity team competed in Division 1 against the national champions, Greenwich Academy.

Sacred Heart Greenwich Sports Specialist and squash coach Mrs. Celia Pashley talking to varsity players during the match. Courtesy of the Sacred Heart Greenwich athletic department.

In an interview with the Greenwich Sentinel, Sacred Heart varsity squash coach Mrs. Celia Pashley expressed her excitement regarding the team’s participation in this year’s National Championship and the varsity team’s participation in Division 1.
“This is so exciting for us and it’s something that we always look forward to,” Mrs. Pashley said, according to . “We know it’s a tiring weekend, but it’s worth it. We are really happy to participate in it and especially this year with the varsity team making the D-I level. It’s big because it hasn’t been done in quite a few years at the school, so it’s really nice and the girls deserve it. They’ve been working really hard and really training hard.”
A typical practice for the Sacred Heart Greenwich squash team begins with squash players completing 45 minutes of fitness in the yoga studio. After exercising, athletes head down to the courts to finish practice with drills, scrimmage games, and technique work.
Each player on the team is ranked after completing tryouts, on a range from one to eight. Every month, though, players are given a chance to move up in their rank by challenging players both above and below them in a match.
This year, returning coach Mr. Peter Kearney, led Sacred Heart’s JV squash team. The JV team played against the Westminster Girls School, St. Andrew’s School, Miss Porter’s School, and the Garrison Forest School in four high-speed competitions. The JV team made it to the semi-finals of the first round with a five to two win over the Garrison Forest School. The JV squash team includes senior and co-captain Olivia Monahan, sophomores Julia Welsh, Arielle Uygur, Georgia Ferguson, and Nicole Mellert, and freshmen Naomi Buccieri and Rachel Keefe. 

Sophomores Katie Keller and Erin O’Connor warming up for a match on the court. Courtesy of the Sacred Heart Greenwich Athletics Department.

The varsity team challenged Episcopal Academy, Choate Rosemary Hall, and the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy Girls A team in three competitions. The varsity team made it to the semi-finals with a close match against Springhill Chestnut Hill Academy. Varsity players include senior co-captain Tory Huchro, junior Caroline Featherston, sophomores Katie Keller, Erin O’Connor, Sophia Georgas, Cameron Calcano, and Grace Nemec, and freshman Mary O’Connor. 
Although mostly underclassmen comprise both the varsity and JV teams, Julia Welsh believes that participating in the Sacred Heart squash program gives her the opportunity to bond with other girls across grades.
“The best part about playing squash is being able to coach your own teammates and cheer them on during matches,” Julia said. “I would encourage new people to play squash because it’s a lot of fun being a part of a team, and its a great way to make new friends that might not be in your grade.”