For Masters' varsity boys squash team, there's no place like home.
The Panthers dominated Fordham Prep, 7-0, on Wednesday, January 11, to improve to 3-1 in the friendly confines of the Fonseca Center.
"The squash courts in the FC are extremely fast," said senior captain Ian Stein, who noted the design of the courts creates a warmer playing environment and adds more bounce to the ball.
Hassan Saad ’25 (11-3, 11-3, 11-2), Stein ’23 (11-3, 11-3, 11-2), Mir Ahmed ’23 (11-3, 11-7, 11-1), Jake Mason ’24 (11-4, 9-11, 11-2, 13-11), Oliver Jones ’24 (11-5,11-5, 11-6), Alex Thorn ’25 (11-4, 11-8, 11-3 ) and Connor Toporoff-Richman ’24 (11-8, 11-6, 12-10) all recorded victories for Masters, which flexed its depth and talent throughout.
Of course, it wasn't all about the familiarity of the court.
"A 7-0 defeat cannot all be credited to a home-court advantage or cheering family and friends in the bleachers," Stein said. "Our hours of hard work and conditioning were called into action to take home the win. Even before walking onto the court for my match, I planned to play an offensive game controlling the 'T.' My deep rails are the strongest part of my game and I usually plan on slowing the pace of each rally and using my fitness to my advantage."
The Panthers are 4-2 in the season with additional wins over King, Riverdale and Dalton. They dropped a pair of matches to St. Luke's and Rye Country Day School.
Looking ahead, the Panthers have their sights set on the 2023 U.S. High School Squash Championships in Philadelphia in late February.
"I hope we qualify for nationals because I think it would be a great exposure not only for me but also for the team," said Saad, who slotted in as the No. 1 player against Fordham Prep. "I think we can achieve this by following a good work routine and, if possible, working on becoming better even after practice time."
Stein also pointed toward the team's work ethic and commitment as they eye bigger and better things in the future.
"I am thrilled to say that we have an incredibly talented and ambitious group of guys," he said. "In the coming weeks, we plan on holding fitness sessions every other day as well as daily 45-minute practices. Our motivated coaches (John Boyer and Santiago Orozco) encourage us to show up with a positive attitude."