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US Open Returns October 5, 2012

Posted by Sam Angell in Men's Squash, Women's Squash.
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On Thursday, John White competed in the first round of qualifying at the 2012 Delaware Investements U.S. Open Squash Championships. The second-year Drexel head coach put up a strong fight against Colombia’s top-ranked player, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, but ultimately fell to the up-and-coming star, 11-8, 12-10, 12-10. It was a hard-fought, intense match that drew a large crowd of supporters out to cheer on White and while the campus favorite came up just short, the match was a thrilling kickoff to the week at the DAC.

 

Squash is a game that may be unfamiliar to many Philadelphians, even though the sport has its roots in the United States right here in the City of Brotherly Love. But with a week of world-class squash ahead of us, Drexel Athletics Director Dr. Eric Zillmer gave denizens of Philly an impassioned primer on the sport in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer. With the best players in the world descending upon the DAC this week, the hope is that the message has the stands full all the way through the championship matches next Friday.

 

Squash is a tough game with simple rules. At the elite level, two competitors are confined to a rectangular glass enclosure. With the semisoft squash ball traveling at speeds up to 170 m.p.h., and with all walls and angles in play, it is mesmerizing to watch.

The athletes perform with a beautiful combination of agility and power. Their footwork is as graceful as ballet, and their stamina rivals that of triathletes. With the struggle for points often lasting 20 to 30 rallies, extreme fitness is the price of admission to world-class squash. The winner, however, is often the player who outfoxes his or her rival.

 

Zillmer was the emcee last night at a reception held at the Paul Peck Center to kick off the Open. A room full of illustrious guests, representatives of U.S. Squash, and players in the upcoming tournament listened as he and other speakers including University President John Fry welcomed the tournament back to Philadelphia. With last year’s event under their belt and a year to prepare for the 2012 Open, Zillmer and his staff promised an unparalleled atmosphere in the main arena at the DAC for the matches. Tickets still remain for the competition, and Drexel students and faculty are reminded that they can get in for free with a valid Drexel ID. For more information, visit www.usopensquash.com.

A little CAA Brotherly Love for Drexel Squash October 4, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Men's Squash, Uncategorized, Women's Squash.
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The 2011 Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships are underway at the DAC, a piece of news you probably haven’t been able to avoid if you’ve checked into DrexelDragons.com in the past few days. It clearly didn’t escape Chris Kowalczyk, the blogger extraordinaire for Around the Horns down at VCU. In a post published last week, Chris promised to wear a Drexel squash shirt to the office if we sent him one.

Look, Coach John White is leading the Dragons to the varsity level in 2011-12, and I want to get in on the ground floor. So count me in, Drexel. I’m on board. Send me a Drexel Squash t-shirt and I will wear that to work and post a pic on the blog. I mean, look at these guys’ new digs. Philadelphia, Squash Capital USA.

Well, don’t worry Chris…it’s on the way! We’re looking forward to seeing pictures of Drexel squash’s self-proclaimed superfan in Richmond.

By the way, the U.S. Open is really getting intense now. We’ve got half the semifinals set on both the men’s and women’s side, with the other semifinal pairings to be set tonight. Top-seeded Nick Matthew is into the semis on the men’s side, but Nicol David, the world’s top-ranked female player, was summarily ousted last night in a thrilling upset from Kasey Brown, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 11-4. You don’t want to miss the action at the DAC the rest of the way, and we’ll be crowning a champion on Thursday evening. See you – and Chris? – there!

U.S. Open Week is Upon Us September 27, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Men's Squash, Women's Squash.
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There is a buzz around the DAC this week, as the U.S. Open Squash Championships are getting set to take place starting on Friday, September 30. Thirty-two of the top male and 16 of the top female players in the world will be competing for a total of $175,000 in combined prize money.

Now, if you’re like a lot of us, you didn’t know that squash was anything more than a food you probably only find on the table at Thanksgiving. But being at a squash tournament can actually be extremely exciting, with two athletes on the enclosed, tiny court maneuvering around each other and firing the ball exactly where they want it to go. It looks almost impossible to believe that players aren’t routinely gashed in the face with the rackets, but just watching the footwork and the chess-like strategy of the game can be fascinating, especially with such high-level players as will be at Drexel this week. It’s worth a look, and will give you a good opportunity to get your championship buzz going before you head down to Citizens Bank Park for the Phillies playoff run.

For any information you might want on squash, we turn to Wikipedia, or as Michael Scott once called it, “the best thing ever.” OK, it might not always be perfect, but this should give you a good primer on the basic rules and concepts of the game if you are coming into this week blind.

For tickets and information on the week’s schedule, visit the U.S. Open Squash website.

Here are a few YouTube videos that should help you get a better understanding of the game and what you’re in store for at the DAC this week:

John White Advances to Legends Final, and more from squash September 19, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Men's Squash.
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As he prepares for the upcoming U.S. Open Squash tournament, Drexel Squash Head Coach John White has advanced to the final of the St. George’s Legends of Squash event and will face Anthony Ricketts for the championship on Monday evening at 7:00 p.m. local time.

White advanced to the final after putting together a 3-0 record in group play to claim the Group A crown. The former world-number one player opened the tournament on Friday with an 11-8, 11-8 victory over Nick Taylor. Then on Saturday, he edged Tim Garner 9-11, 11-6, 11-3.

Sunday’s match saw White grind out a 13-11 triumph in the first game before finishing off Jonathon Power with an 11-5 thumping in the second.


White’s opponent in the final, Anthony Ricketts, also went 3-0 in group play. The Legends tournament is his first competitive squash event since 2007.

Meanwhile, CollegeSquashAssociation.com has released its preview of the inaugural season of Drexel men’s squash. In addition to examining the Dragons’ ascent to the varsity level, the preview offers fans the first look at the three players expect to sit atop the Dragons’ ladder this season. For more, visit CSA’s preview here.

The Pin and the Dive August 30, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Men's Squash, Women's Squash, Wrestling.
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Just got out of the Athletics staff luncheon, where Director of Athletics Eric Zillmer and Deputy Director of Athletics Nick Gannon introduced the department’s two newest head coaches, Matt Azevedo (wrestling) and John White (men’s and women’s squash). By way of introduction, a few YouTube videos were shared of the new head Dragons in action in their respective sports. Now, here they are for your enjoyment:

Here’s a look at Coach Azevedo at the Poland Open. It’s a two-parter, but Azevedo was quick to point out that he pinned his man by the end of it.

And here is Coach White going all out to claim a rally at the Bear Stearns Tournament of Champions