The fall opener for Virginia men’s and women’s squash is right around the corner. The women’s side is set to kick things off Saturday, and the Cavaliers are prepared to use their new talent to improve their rank following an impressive 2021-22 season.
In early March, Coach Mark Allen was named the Mid-Atlantic Squash Conference Men’s Coach of the Year after guiding the men’s team to its third consecutive Mid-Atlantic Squash Conference title.
For their impressive play throughout the season, three total players earned spots on CSA All-American teams. Junior Meagan Best of the women’s team had a record of 13-6 last season and won the Ramsay Cup consolation bracket at CSA Individual Championships. She was the first female Cavalier to achieve First Team All-American status.
Senior Aly Hussein and freshman Omar El Torkey, top players on the men’s team, were named second team CSA All-Americans. Hussein was named MASC Men’s Player of the Year and has become the second consecutive Cavalier to earn the honor. He led his team last year in wins and win percentage, with 16 and 0.850, respectively. He competed as the team’s number one player the entire season.
Looking forward to this season, five new recruits will join the Cavaliers at the beginning of this season. On the men’s team, freshmen Kareem El Torkey, Patrick Keller and JP Tew. Freshmen Nina Hashmi and Lina Tammam will be joining the women’s team.
El Torkey was the number one player in Egypt in BU19 age division and has five Egyptian National titles, a Hong Kong Junior open title and a British Junior Open championship.
Keller is from Rye, N.Y. and was a four-year letter winner at Brunswick School. He led his team to three national championships and was the runner up at the Connecticut Junior Squash Championships in 2020.
Tew is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio and has three national junior titles. He was a U.S. Squash High School All-American and has reached a ranking of No. 1 in every age division in junior squash. He also excelled in track and field in high school.
For the women’s team, Hashmi is from Marin, Calif. and played for Choate Rosemary Hall. She was an extremely successful team captain and was named to the All-NEPSAC team. She earned individual ranking inside the top-25 in the GU11, GU13, GU17 and GU19 divisions.
Tammam is from Alexandria, Egypt and competed at the Alexandria Sporting Club. She took Cairo Regional Open Championship and placed third in the Egyptian National Championships, both in the U17 division.
Other changes to the teams include the addition of Rodrigo Porras as assistant coach for both squads over the summer. Porras was formerly Trinity’s assistant women’s coach for three years, where he helped guide the Bantams to seasons of at least 15 wins.
“The effort and the waiting have ultimately paid off for us and have led us to an exceptional person and coach in Rodrigo,” Allen said. “We are eager to move our teams one step closer to the top of the college ranks.”
In late September, the 2022-23 schedule was announced. For the men’s team there will be 15 matches with nine of them at home. These home matches include the 2023 Mid-Atlantic Squash Conference Championships which will be played at the McArthur Squash Center for the second time in history, from Feb. 3-5.
Their first match begins at home versus Navy Nov. 8, and the team will also host Yale, Columbia, Penn, Western Ontario, Rochester, Chatham, Drexel and Dickinson. The College Squash AssociationMen’s National Championships will be hosted by Trinity from Feb. 24-26.
The women’s team opens its season at Franklin and Marshall Saturday. They will play at home later against Yale, Columbia, Penn, Stanford, Chatham, Drexel and Dickinson. The CSA Women’s National Championship will be hosted Feb. 17 through 19 at Penn.
CSA Individual Championships will be March 3-5 at Arlen Specter Squash Center in Philadelphia.
“As I look forward to the season ahead, I think that if we perform to our potential, both teams are positioned to finish higher in the national rankings than ever before,” Allen said.
With new recruits and coaching staff, the Cavaliers are full of talent and have the potential to play some competitive squash this upcoming season.