The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Varsity squash program sets its sights on the future

By Juliette Lopez

A packed house was drawn to the Athletic and Fitness center this fall, all to see a match between a professional squash player and one of Chatham University’s own. Students crowded shoulder to shoulder and stood on benches just to get a glimpse of the competition.

“This event grew by word of mouth,” said Chief of Police Valerie Townsend, “so no one knew exactly what the attendance would look like.”

As Chatham’s squash team wrapped up its first season this academic year, the scene that played out a few months ago wasn’t the norm. And it most likely will remain this way, even as the team continues to grow.

The squash courts in the Athletic and Fitness Center aren’t typically available for matches or competitions, being for practice use only. This match was an exception because it was more for entertainment than an actual competition.

Due to a late loss of a player following winter break, the team was not able to host any home matches. Next season, though, the team has two of them scheduled — one before and one after winter break. These will take place at the Rivers Club on Grant Street in downtown Pittsburgh.

A case for squash

Squash was originally offered at Chatham as a class. In order to try to attract a more diverse body of student athletes, though, it was turned into a full-fledged sport.

“Squash was identified as a sport that could bring both U.S. and international students to Chatham,” said squash coach Larissa Stephenson. “We also had the courts already on campus, so it was a move that required very little immediate financial expenditure from the school. It also provided Chatham the chance to be the first university in Pittsburgh to offer squash as a varsity sport.”

Head squash coach Larissa Stephenson

Squash is such a new sport here that many students still don’t know about it.

“Future fan accommodations will greatly depend on if Chatham continues to have a squash team or not,” Chief Townsend said, “and it’s certainly too early to project what attendance would look like. However, more than likely, the matches would not be held at our facility.”

Looking ahead

Chatham’s squash team played a competitive season for the roster that it had but ended up losing out on match experience because most of its members are new to the sport. The team’s №1 player, Vinicius Muniz ’22, entered the team’s final weekend with a record of 5–2.

Stephenson is eager to see her team grow and has already added another player, Tina Lett ’20. For now, Lett will compete with the men’s squash team until Chatham has enough players to form a women’s varsity program.

Anyone interested in learning more about Chatham’s squash team can visit

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