Virginia Men and Drexel Women Win Mid-Atlantic Squash Conference Championships
by David Keating

Virginia’s #2, Aly Hussein, picked up an early win over F&M’s Aryan Parekh on the way to a 8-1 team victory.

Drexel’s #2 Alina Bushma, a sophomore, won all four of her matches by 3-0 scores at the MASC championships. Drexel named her the women’s “Athlete of the Week.” Here she faces Virginia’s Maria Moya-Lopez.

photos David Keating

February 10, 2020 - The Virginia men and the Drexel women took home Mid-Atlantic Squash Conference (MASC) Championships trophies Sunday. The victories at the championships make it likely both teams will keep their top 8 rankings to qualify for the top divisions at the national team championships that begin later this month. Washington DC’s Squash on Fire and George Washington University hosted the event.

The Virginia Cavaliers beat Franklin & Marshall 8-1 in the final and dropped just two individual matches on the way to winning the title. The Cavaliers beat Dickinson in the opening round and George Washington in the semis.

Virginia’s wins this weekend, combined with #14 Franklin & Marshall’s 5-4 upset of #6 Drexel in the semis, puts the Dragons at risk of falling into the second division at nationals. Drexel scored a 5-4 win over #12 George Washington University to take third place and preserve some hope of staying in the top division.

The #10 Virginia women needed an upset of #8 Drexel in the final to have some hope of punching their ticket to the top division, but fell short 7-2. The Dragons dominated the top three positions, posting 3-0 sweeps. The Cavaliers showed their depth, taking wins at #6 and #9, and putting up strong fights at the other positions. The #14 ranked George Washington also took third place in the women’s division in the five-team round robin.

Mark Allen, the Cavaliers head coach, said the men “battled hard all season and today’s result was just the icing on the cake….” Referring to the likelihood that Virginia would make the top division for the first time in its history, he said that if we “achieved that today, it’s awesome for the team and a reward for their hard work and perseverance through” a tough season.

Drexel Assistant Coach Dylan Cunningham said “we’re really excited to win the women’s MASC championship. We’ve had an up and down year, but today [everyone] played hard and got rewarded for that.” He added that the win “will give us a lot of confidence going in to nationals in two weeks.”

The 2020 MASC conference championships was the first as a conference recognized by the College Squash Association (CSA), the governing body for intercollegiate varsity squash. The event had a trial run last year and the CSA granted the conference provisional status last June. According to the CSA, the “concept for MASC was developed and implemented by George Washington University Coach Anderson Good.” The CSA will review the conference at the end of the season, but given the excitement the tournament generated last weekend, it should have a good chance to return next year.