LANCASTER, Pa. – Following two straight appearances in the Kurtz Cup (B Division), an annual matchup of the nation's No. 9-16 teams, at the College Squash Association (CSA) Team Championships, Franklin & Marshall's women's squash program continues to establish itself as a force to be reckoned with in the sport.
The Diplomats first step toward continuing its recent success begins on Tuesday with its season opener at home against Drexel at 5:45 p.m.
To watch a season preview video featuring sixth-year head coach Gavin Jones, click here.
Four of the Diplomats' top-five positions on the ladder return from a year ago. The group highlight's eight student-athletes who were members of last year's team that finished with the program's highest national ranking since 2012, with a No. 14 showing.
Four freshmen join the fold as well, looking to infuse additional talent and athleticism into the lineup.
F&M lost three seniors to graduation last year, including Emily Caldwell who was 9-10 overall and 6-6 at the No. 3 position.
Fiona Murphy – Sr.
Dulakshi Elikewela – Sr.
Kate O'Brien - Sr.
Sherilyn Yang – Jr.
Andreina Benedith – Jr.
Lauren Johnston – Jr.
Ellen Verry – So.
Yang and Murphy figure to once again anchor the top of the Diplomats' order. Yang finished last season with a 6-12 overall record, playing primarily at the No. 1 spot in the lineup, to finish with the No. 38 ranking in the country. Leading the team with a 14-5 record, including an 8-4 mark at No. 2, Murphy was ranked at No. 31 to close out last year.
Elikewela will serve as a senior captain, along with O'Brien, while junior's Benedith (4-1 record between No.'s 5-7) and Johnston (8-7 record between No.'s 4-5) are figured to hold down spots in the middle of the order. Verry is coming off of a strong freshman season that saw her produce a 7-8 record, including wins in each of her last two matches.
F&M is set to open the 2016-17 season with the No. 14 ranking after accumulating 27 votes among a poll of varsity coaches. Harvard garnered the No. 1 spot, followed by Penn. and Trinity.
The Road Ahead
Following the home opener against Drexel, F&M competes in four more matches before the end of the first semester. Key competitions on the schedule include meetings with Yale (preseason No. 6) on Dec. 3, Columbia (No. 7) on Jan. 5 and Trinity (No. 3) on Jan. 15).
The CSA Team Championships will be hosted by Princeton and are set for Feb. 24-26, while Dartmouth will be the site of the CSA Individual Championships and will take place from March 3-5.
Follow Along (Social Media)
All of your favorite Diplomat athletic teams are available on social media. Follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to the Diplomats YouTube page for frequent highlight videos of games throughout the season.
All home contests are streamed, free of charge, which can be found here.