Squash: All About Strategy
Five-year-old club team has skills, hope, a plan
During the summer months, BU Today is revisiting some of our favorite stories from the past year. This week, we feature some of the many student organizations at BU.
When Jacob Roscoe became president of the BU Squash Team last year, he hoped to make it more than just a club sport. He wanted it to be run more professionally, and most of all, more like a true team.
“We needed to practice more,” says Roscoe (CAS’14). “We needed to hire a coach, and we needed to train as though we were a varsity program.”
The team now has five scheduled practices a week, Monday and Wednesday mornings and Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights. They play up to four matches in a typical weekend and compete against club and varsity teams. This year, the team has reached a ranking of 31 among all programs in the country—varsity and club—and it is currently ranked 5th among all club teams.
“We want to become a varsity sport, and we’re trying to use this year as an anchor,” says team vice president Ben Bunjapamai (SMG’15). “Last year was the first year we pushed to act like a varsity team, and we finished 50th in the nation. This year, we’ve jumped so much further.”
The BU club was established just five years ago and today competes in the College Squash Association (CSA), playing roughly 25 matches a season against teams from the Boston area, among them MIT, Northeastern, and Tufts, and around the country, such as Duke and NYU.
The roster is international, with members from South Africa, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Sweden, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates. Although the 18-player squad cannot recruit players, Roscoe and Bunjapamai email interested students and offer advice on how to get into BU.
“This year, we’ve spoken to kids from Europe, Australia, and Egypt, and at least 10 kids from India,” Roscoe says. “We’ve gotten lucky that they’ve been attracted to the University and to the potential of a growing program.”
Squash, like racquetball, is played on a closed-wall court. Roscoe describes it as “a tennis court folded at center net, so that both players are playing on the same side.” Fast and strategic, the game is won more often with clever ball placement than with power.
While BU’s predominantly male team plays in the men’s division, women are welcome, and female players Chandler Burke (ENG ’16), Chloe Warren (CAS’16), and Alex Smith (CAS’16) have joined and compete.
This season, which started in October and ends this month, the Terriers have posted a record of 10-8 in 18 official CSA matches, including the team’s first win over MIT, a varsity team, and a 5-4 victory over Boston College.
After winning the G Division last year, the team is looking to move up to the C Division playoffs later this month.
“That would put us up against very few club teams,” Bunjapamai says. “Last year, out of the 10 teams in our division, only one was a varsity team. This year, if we get into the C Division, only about three would be club teams.”
The Terriers are still a young team, with just two seniors set to graduate. Roscoe and Bunjapamai are planning the team’s future with care, watching the skills of the players improve, and hoping, when the time is right, to talk with the athletics department about making squash a varsity sport. It is, after all, a strategic endeavor.
The BU Squash Team faces crosstown rival Boston College on Sunday, February 3, at noon at the Fitness & Recreation Center, 915 Commonwealth Ave.
Paul Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments