What’s What & Who’s Who: Squash

2, 4, 6, 8

Each team plays nine players in a match. The players match up to their corresponding rank on the other team with the even ranked players competing first, followed by the odd. Nine points wins a game, and the first player to secure three games wins the match. Each individual match can last anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes depending on the extent to which the players’ skills match up. The first team to get five individual victories wins the match.

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It Can’t be Heads or Tails

To begin each match, any one player spins his or her racket to determine who will have the first serve. The other player calls “up” or “down” and the logo on the racket’s handle indicates which team has “won the toss.” The player who wins the toss serves first. There are two service boxes on opposite sides of the court, and the same player chooses from which box to begin serving. Subsequent services alternate between the two boxes after each point.

Line It Up

Three lines on the front wall of the court dictate where the players hit the ball. The top line, “outer court,” means the ball is out of bounds. The “service line” is the center line on the wall, and the ball is hit above this line during a serve. The lower “tin” line is always off limits.

Hit Me with Your Best Shot

Players get only one shot to get their serve right — there are no second chances. Here’s the idea: with one foot inside the service box, the first player hits the ball above the service line to the opposite quarter of the court. If the opponent lets the ball bounce more than once or it hits below the tin — player one gets a point. The only way to score points in squash is on serve. Players serve until they lose a rally, after which the opponent gets to serve. This process continues until a player wins the game. The winner serves first in the next game.

Through the Looking Glass

The Brady Squash Center is considered to be one of the best squash facilities in the world. Located on the fourth floor of the Payne Whitney Gymnasium, the center boasts 15 courts, which includes the only permanent four glass-wall court in the world. One major appeal of the facility is its viewing capacity, where fans can witness games on 11 of the 15 courts from the main viewing area and balcony.

Global Appeal

Squash is played in over 140 countries, although it tends to be a more elite sport in America, head coach Dave Talbott said. Flags from numerous other countries surround the Brady Squash Center, highlighting the sport’s global appeal. Director of the Brady Squash Center Gareth Webber, a British native, said many international students use the squash courts, including the seven internationals on the men’s and women’s squash teams.

Style File

Imagine tennis with goggles. Men don a shirt and shorts for their attire while women wear a shirt and skirt for their matches. Each player wears special squash shoes and goggles, or eye guards, to prevent the ball or racket from hitting and causing eye injuries.

Physical Chess

Webber said the key to learning how to play squash is actually playing, though it should not be done without some preparation. Several Elis also practice yoga to improve their flexibility for the game. Webber added that the game involves significant mental strength to manipulate the moves of your opponent.

Power Player

Women’s captain Miranda Ranieri ’08 is applauded by her coach and teammates, several of whom said they think Ranieri is the best player in the league, possibly in the country. Ranieri’s list of accolades include former Canadian Jr. Champion, three-time All-American and first-team All-Ivy last year. With an undefeated individual record thus far this season, look out for this Bulldog to lead her team in squashing opponents.

Howe to Do It

The women’s squash team is eyeing a victory at the Howe Cup championship this year, rookie Caroline Reigeluth ’11 said. The Bulldogs have won the Howe Cup, which is the national title, three out of the last four years, losing the grip on their triple streak last season. With three freshmen ranked in the top four in the lineup, Talbott said he hopes the new faces can reload the team’s depth. Talbott said the men’s team is also hoping its young lineup can win the Ivy League title this season.

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