UR’s squash team is one of the most under-the-radar Division I sports programs in the entire nation.
But the ‘Jackets made ESPN this week as the frustration of the team’s loss to Yale in the Potter Cup final boiled over, and junior Aria Fazelimanesh flipped the middle finger to a trash-talking Yale player. The clip was featured on Scott Van Pelt’s nightly edition of Sportscenter.
Despite Fazelimanesh’s actions, the way the team played this past weekend spoke volumes as to why they will be in contention for future Potter Cup trophies.
The team went a combined 13–3 this season and defeated a squash giant, the Trinity College Bantams, when it mattered most. The Yellowjackets went to the Potters Cup, which is a tournament for the top eight teams in the country. The squash team made it all the way to the finals against Yale University, but lost in a tight match ending with the final score of 5–4.
The effort of the players, the prideful reward of beating Trinity, and their journey to the finals did not got go unnoticed by head coach Heath Martin.
“Very happy,” Coach Martin said of how he feels about his team. “Beating Trinity and making our first final. Very proud of our effort.” Martin went on to say that this was the best season the team has had in its history.
However, making it to the final only caused Martin and his young squash players to desire to not only one day win the Potter Cup, but to be the best team in the country.
Coach Martin understood that his team did well but also acknowledged that there were things he and his team needed to work on. “Too many things to mention,” Martin said.
This sentiment of wanting to get better trickled down from the head coach to everyone on the team.
“One [aspect that I need] to improve [on is being] a [much better player so I can be] the best player in college squash, and never lose a match,” co-captain and junior Ryosei Kobayashi said.
“Second is to be a better captain. I have been the co-captain for the team for two years, and the more time I spend being a captain, the more I feel the responsibility for the team, which is a good thing for me because it motivates me to think more (and more than required) for the team.”
“I really feel like I could have done better this season,” freshman Lawrence Kuhn said. “The team worked really hard and I think that we lived up to the minimum of our potential at the least, this being the best result yet says a lot. But it also means that with the potential that the team has, there really are no limits.”
This feeling of motivation keeps the squash team going. Understanding that the team did wonderfully this season is not enough. The team realizes that they must be on their toes to be successful next year.
“I think we tried hard, but we could have tried even harder, just a little bit more, and that might have made a difference in our final result,” Kobayashi said. “Who knows, but all I can say is that we do not want to repeat [the same] result next year, so we are going to make sure to be the best team in the country.”