Chatham men’s squash is eyeing the top 15 in the country: Here’s what you need to know


Chatham squash player Vinicius Ennius Muniz ‘22 plays in a recent game against Franklin & Marshall College during the weekend of Jan. 22-23. Photo Credit: Chatham Athletics

Cristopher Tejada and Haley Daugherty

Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the squash cubes and toss them to thoroughly coat in the oil. Then transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes – wait what? Oh, this is a story about the sport of squash, not the vegetable. Oops. A common misconception among those foreign to the world of squash.

The squash we’re talking about is far from a roasted butternut. Since its introduction in the 2018-19 school year, the Chatham University men’s squash team has managed to formulate a formidable squad built to compete with the country’s best.

Squash is played in a court of four walls with two players navigating against each other throughout the court attempting to reach the ball before it bounces twice.

Squash is “a technical, high-speed game of chess. The technique is very important, and you have to be very diligent about your technique,” said first-year coach Christopher Fernandez. “The technique allows for you to be able to do things on the court. You have to be two to three steps ahead of your opponent, both from a thinking and strategic standpoint.”

The men’s team is by far one of the most diverse ones on campus with a majority of international students on the roster. This brings about a competitive recruiting landscape and a unique task of unifying different backgrounds.

“The recruiting process is very intensive. What it all comes down to is support, both financially and emotionally, once you have students that are coming to Chatham from a very long way,” Fernandez said.

Convincing the student-athletes to arrive on campus is a mere baby step. The journey begins by assimilating the student-athletes into new training schedules, time zones and facing the realization that you might not be the best anymore.

“To see players from Egypt, Pakistan, Mexico, Chile, Malaysia all taking styles and things from each other’s game and adding it to theirs is truly a fascinating thing to see,” Fernandez said.

“I could only dream that the squash team would become what it is today,” said Vinicius Muniz ‘22. “I believe we have what it takes to get into a top 15 ranking in the season.”

Muniz, a business major from Brazil, has encountered the transition process from his home country to the United States. He understands the aspect of individuality associated with squash needs to be eliminated to grasp success as a team.

“I want to help them think of it as playing for something bigger than themselves and playing for one another as well,” Muniz said.

The squash team will look to continue to capitalize on its success in February. The players had a strong start by defeating Wesleyan on Jan. 15. They continued their fight against other big-name schools, such as traveling to the University of Virginia on Jan. 29.  Chatham also will host the U.S. Naval Academy on Feb. 12 at the Athletic and Fitness Center (AFC).