The Festival of Squash

Squash Zone opened its season with a bang this year with a week long Festival of Squash culminating in finals day on Saturday which included a Men’s PSA 1K, a Women’s Pro Invitational and an amateur draw populated by club members young and old. Sponsored by 10th Street Distillery  - a new leader in the American whisky market - the events were enjoyed by spectators and players alike with a high standard of squash on display throughout the week. 

Men’s PSA 1K Finalists

Men’s PSA 1K Finalists

Men’s PSA 1K

This event attracted male professional players both from California and as far away as Cairo, Egypt. In a change from earlier closed satellite tournaments, four of the main draw positions were reserved for winners of a one-day qualification event, allowing top local juniors and even club members to compete against the seasoned pros. Raghav Kumar (Tufts University squash), and juniors Varun Chitturi, John Paul Ho, and Abhi Gupta all won their qualification matches to earn spots in the main draw. The main draw competition they met was far tougher. In the bottom half of the draw, English touring professional Chris Fuller (former world #87) advanced convincingly to the semis, where he lost out to local hero Cole Becker of Princeton University (world ranked #187) in a very tough 5 game match Friday night in front of an appreciative crowd. In the top half of the draw, Squash Zone coach Mustafa Nawar (world ranked #175) overcame fellow Squash Zone pro (and University of Rochester player) Leonard Mohr 3-0 before running into Nick Talbott (Stanford University Coach and world ranked #372) in a tough semi-finals which nearly went to 5 games. On Saturday's final, Nawar looked sharp and took down Becker (3-0) before a large crowd, solidifying his reputation as one of the top coaching professionals in California. 

 

Women’s Invitational Finalists

Women’s Invitational Finalists

Women’s Invitational

The womens’ draw took on a different format this year with 4 players of different level of touring experience battling it out for the top prize. Marina Stefanoni - who, at 13, became the youngest ever winner of the US Nationals U-19 - flew in from the east coast to set up a semi-final clash with the more experienced Lisa Aitken of Scotland (world ranked #37). Bay area native Serena Daniel, fresh from a World Junior Championships performance took on Samantha Cornett of Canada (world ranked #32) in the bottom half of the draw. The professionals faced off in the finals treating the crowd to a match of great physicality and strategy resulting in Lisa taking it 3-0 on the day.

Squash Zone Amateur Tournament participants

Squash Zone Amateur Tournament participants

Squash Zone Amateur Tournament

With entries capped at 32 we had the full complement of players both in the senior and junior divisions. Early matches proved interesting with the players with higher ratings overcoming their negative point handicaps to edge out their opponents - the unforced error count needed to remain low! In the Junior Division we had brand new members playing against more seasoned players and seedings played out to form with Aiden Yun playing Vivaan Mehta in the final. Aiden prevailed with a 2-0 win in this best of 3 format. Meanwhile in the adult division, friendly rivalries resurfaced with plenty of Squash Zone’s finest playing off for the coveted title! Kevin Sacherman, a previous winner of titles here at Squash Zone edged out Evan Goldberg in the final before they both settled in to watch the Men’s PSA final. 

The final rounded out a very successful kick off to the season at Squash Zone and much appreciation must go to 10th Street Distillery for making it all possible. Here’s to the 2019 season of squash!


S.E.A Camp

Squash Zone recently had the pleasure of hosting students from other urban programs across the country, ranging from Oakland, CA to Boston, MA. These students worked with coaches from the Bay Area along with our Squash on Track kids. After their squash sessions, they helped Squash on Track students with their homework. On their days off, they took tours around the Bay Area and capped off their trip with a dinner generously hosted by Squash on Track board member, Alex Rampell! We hope to see you soon!

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Ligetti Open 1K and Member tournament

Squash Zone recently hosted the 2018 Ligeti Open, a small 3 day professional tournament for locals pros. There were some very exciting matches that went to five. Cole Becker (club member)and Charlie Johnson made it to the finals. Charlie won the first game, Cole came back fighting and took the next two games. Unfortunately, Charlie had to withdraw in the fourth game due to an injury. We hope you all enjoyed the matches played at our recent 1K PSA event. A big THANK YOU to our sponsor Kiersten Ligeti from Alain Pinel Realtors.

In addition to the pro tournament, we hosted a members tournament in between the semis and the final. Congratulations to Kevin Sacherman (winner), Andy Michael (finalist), Aharon Weiner (consolation winner), and Joel Berger (plate winner). A big thank you to all the members who came out to play in this tournament! It was a great success!

Below are some pictures from the weekend. Take a look!

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Oracle Netsuite Open

Squash Zone had the privilege of hosting 9 first round matches of the Oracle Netsuite Open. Players who played at Squash Zone include James Willistrop, Amanda Sobhy, Ryan Cuskelly and Donna Lobban. During the matches, Squash on Track students raised awareness about their program and showed members and guests their classroom all while raising funds for their amazing program. Good luck to all the players on the rest of their season! We can’t wait to have you back!

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Amanda Sobhy clinic

Squash Zone and Squash on Track had the privilege of hosting clinics with Amanda Sobhy. Amanda first go on court with our Squash on Track students. They had a fun time playing with her while learning some new tricks. Amanda then got on court with members, and they got to learn a lot about the volley while having a fun time learning about it. Best of luck to the rest of your season, Amanda! We can’t wait to have you back!

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Ramy Ashour vs Miguel Angel Rodriguez Exhibition

Squash Zone recently had the privilege of hosting Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Ramy Ashour! While here, they they gave clinics to our urban program, Squash on Track, and semi-private clinics to members and guests in the area. They provided an exciting exhibition match followed by some Q&A and an autograph session. Thank you to all members and guests who came to show their support for the club! Special shoutout to and thank you to Aisling Blake for putting the event together - it was a great night!!!

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