By Anne Bello
Published Oct 21, 2010 at 3:00 PM ET; Updated Oct 17, 2010 at 1:17 PM ET

South Hadley, MA — Mount Holyoke looks to make history this year by attempting to win their fifth consecutive Seven Sisters championship. The Lyons have dominated the tournament for the last four years, thanks in large part to the contributions of the members of the class of 2010. Six seniors graduated last year, and if Mount Holyoke wins a record-breaking fifth consecutive Seven Sisters title, it will be with a very different squad.

Fortunately, the Lyons have a large and deep incoming class. First-year Randima Ranaweera, the third-ranked player in Sri Lanka, is expected to take over the top spot in the ladder. Shaheen Madraswala of Mumbai follows her sister Nusrat, a former number 1 for the Lyons, to South Hadley, and she is expected to play somewhere between 3 and 5. According to head coach Allen Fitzsimmons, Madraswala is expected to push all the players in the top 5.

Katrina Intal, who played number 1 and 2 for St. Paul’s, will likely play 6 or 7 for Mount Holyoke. Former Pomfret number 1 Elyse Taylor and Julianna Dahbura, who played in Mercersburg’s top 5, will add to the team’s depth in the bottom of the ladder.

Several non-varsity players from last season may also make an impact on the ladder. Sophomore My-Linh Nguyen and juniors Marie Ozann and Sarah Moore have been working hard in the off-season and may contend for spots in the bottom half of the ladder. “All three young women are tennis converts and got a wealth of experience in exhibition matches and practices last season,” Fitzsimmons says. “Look for at least one of these three to be an immediate contributor this season.”

The new players will be joining a team that has a tradition of sportsmanship and service. Last season the team volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, an involvement they hope to continue, as well as working with students from local schools on team building and physical fitness activities. “We have two younger players in charge of community service and I am excited to see what they come up with for this season,” Fitzsimmons says.

The team will also have the advantage of training in Mount Holyoke’s new, state-of-the-art fitness center. The team will be able to use a new strength and conditioning space designated for varsity athletes.

“I look for this year’s young team to approach this season with an open mind and look at each match as an opportunity,” Fitzsimmons says. “We have better depth than ever. For the first time in the program’s history we have 10 players with at least four years of experience. If we capitalize on the majority of our opportunities we could finish in the title match for the Kurtz division.”

Although the B Division will be very competitive this season, Mount Holyoke should certainly be in the mix.

2009-2010 SEASON RECAP

Season Record: 14-9
Final Ranking: 12
Team Championships/Conference: 12th Over All; 4th in Kurtz Cup (B Division); Seven Sisters Champion

2010-2011 SEASON PREVIEW


Program Status:
Varsity

Head Coach: Allen Fitzsimmons

Returning Players from Team Championships: Tempest Bowden (5; Seven Sisters Team); Kathryn Brummer (10); Vidushi Gurunada (1; Seven Sisters Team, 2009-2010 Captain); Shara Robertson (3; Seven Sisters Team); Paulina Rojek (7)

Graduates on Last Season’s Team Championships Roster: Lila Khan (6); Laurian Lue Yen (4; 2008-2009 Captain, 2009-2010 Captain; Seven Sisters Team); Laura Robinson (2; 2009-2010 Captain, Seven Sisters Team); Hillela Simpson (9; Seven Sisters Team); Michelle Zagardo (8; Seven Sisters Team)

Additions to the 2010-2011 Roster:

  • Expected to play number 1: Randima Ranaweera
  • Expected to play in the middle of the ladder: Shaheen Madraswala and Katrina Intal
  • Expected to play in the bottom third of the ladder: Elyse Taylor and Julianna Dahbura
  • Expected to compete for spots in the varsity line-up: My-Linh Nguyen, Marie Ozann, and Sarah Moore

Captain: Shara Robertson

Team Goal: Repeat as Seven Sisters champions

Key Matches: Bates, Middlebury, Amherst, Hamilton, George Washington, Colby, Vassar, and Wesleyan

To read other team previews, please visit the 2010 – 2011 College Squash Preview Page.