Women's Squash Headed to California Over Break

Click here to watch a video recap of the women's squash trip to California.

Over the winter break, the third-ranked University of Pennsylvania women’s squash team will head to California, spending time in San Francisco before facing Stanford and George Washington after the New Year.

The Quakers (3-0) will leave Dec. 29 for the west coast playing the seventh-ranked Cardinal on Jan. 3 and the eighth-ranked Colonels on Jan. 4. The Penn women return to competitive action for the first time since Nov. 23, after beginning the season 3-0.

In those three victories over Bates, Colby, and Bowdoin – all coming in a weekend long trip in Maine – the Quakers did not drop a single match, winning all three matchups, 9-0.

Stanford (2-1) is coming off a similar layoff to Penn having not played since later November, while George Washington (2-3) has played just one match in early December before its trip West.

You can follow the women’s team during its trip as the team will provide blog updates on this page during its time in California, and also follow the women and men’s team on Twitter –@PennSquash.

Women's Squash Blog - San Francisco

Jan. 3
Today marked the first official match of the year! We beat Stanford, 9-0, in preciselyone hour and five minutes. Our quick victory was followed by our planned activities for the day: lunch and a road trip up the coaston Route 1.

Our first stop was at Half Moon Bay boardwalk, where we explored a nifty surf shop and walked down the pier like excited tourists. Our second stop was at Pacifica Beach, where some decided to get the full California experience with a quick swim in the ocean.

In between our first and second stop, we had a beautiful scenic drive that was accompanied by a karaoke session to “the best” of the 2000s. Though we, more than likely, destroyed Gilly and Alan’s hearing with our off-pitch screeches, we continued to sing happily together. While singing to songs from our childhood may seem irrelevant to squash, moments like these bind us together and make us a family.The drills, sprints, and fitness circuits are useless without the depth that the memories we make together bring.

We continued our karaoke session for about an hour after our second stop, and this was truly the highlight of our day. We grew closer in a matter of hours and, as a result, are more fluid as a team. This is crucial in maximizing our performance in the next few weeks, as we prepare to compete in pivotal matches to bring home a title. The rest of our day included shopping along Fisherman’s Warf and dinner at a local restaurant. Though our trip is coming to a fun close, we know that we have utilized our time wisely and have taken the necessary steps to fully align our focus for the victory we have been training for.

Today not only marks the first official match of the year, but also the first moments of a very successful season for Penn Women’s Squash.

Jan. 2

Today, we started off the day with a team breakfast at the hotel. After our breakfast, we hung around in the lobby while enjoying some of the beautiful San Francisco sun.

A couple of hours later, we all headed to The Olympic Club in downtown San Francisco for a strong session to further prepare us for the season we are all so very excited about. Once we had arrived at the club, everyone got into power mode and warmed up for an intense session. The session was not too long; it was short and sweet, but we were all determined to benefit as much as possible on both individual and group levels despite the limited time available.

After our first session, we all headed out for lunch in the nearby downtown mall where we were surrounded by the touristic streets of the energetic city. After lunch, we had a couple of hours before our second session.

We took advantage of our short break and walked along some great shopping scenes around the city. Halfway through the day we returned to The Olympic Club where we played condition games and matches amongst ourselves. We finished our session with some light fitness, which is bound to keep us on our toes for our upcoming matches against Stanford and George Washington.

Finally we ended the day with a relaxing dinner at an Italian restaurant with one of our teammate’s parents. The dinner was delicious as usual and the atmosphere was splendid which added to our enthusiasm and excitement to play a great match the next morning against Stanford.

After dinner we headed off to our hotel. We had a quick team meeting and retired early to get a good night sleep before our big day where we will play our first match of the New Year.

Jan. 1
Happy New Year from San Francisco! Penn women’s squash had a perfect first day of 2015.

After Leslie made sure she had had at least five cups of coffee, we left the hotel at 9 a.m. to walk down to Fisherman’s Wharf to rent bikes for the day. We biked across the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito —aneight mile journey each way— and could not have asked for better weather for the ride.

It was sunny and warm all morning and afternoon, making the three hours spent on the bikes very enjoyable. Considering San Francisco can often be foggy, we felt lucky to have had such favorable conditions for the day.

From the Golden Gate we had amazing, unobstructed views of San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean. Once we had crossed over the bridge, the ride into Sausalito was another two and half miles, with each mile bringing breathtaking views of beautiful houses nestled closely to one another in the hills of Sausalito. We stopped in the town center for a few hours to walk around and eat lunch at a small café, and much of the lunch discussion revolved around how much we all would like to live in California (even though we love Philly!).

Sara purchased a pair of socks with avocados on them, but regretfully declined to the join the store’s exclusive “Sock Club” for frequent sock buyers, much to the dismay of the employee at the cash register.

We then biked out of Sausalito and back over the bridge to Fisherman’s Wharf to drop off our bikes, and headed back to the hotel in high spirits. Ali and Michele, however, did not go right back to the hotel; they courageously went swimming in a roped off section of water by Ghirardelli Square!

After we reconvened in the hotel, we opted for a low-key evening, as everyone was pretty tired from the day’s adventures. We grabbed a quick dinner at a local supermarket and watched a movie in bed, reflecting on what a perfect day it had been.

-Leslie Gill '15

Dec. 31
We had an early start to the day as we had some activities planned. Our captain, the one and only Leslie Gill, even woke up earlier to catch the sunrise and managed to catch a glimpse of sea lions at the San Francisco Bay.

Everyone managed to get down to breakfast promptly at 8 a.m. and we left the hotel at 9 a.m. We walked down to the bay to catch the famous San Francisco cable car. It is known to be the world’s last manually operated cable car system. It was exciting to be in an open-air vehicle going up and down the steep hills of the city. Some daring people could even stand on the outer edge of the cable car while holding onto handholds.

We took the cable car to Union Square bypassing Chinatown on the way. Union Square seemed to be the main shopping district of downtown San Francisco. There were a large variety of stores for people of every taste and style. We had a fun time shopping around different stores. Some of us made the trek back to Chinatown where we had a delectable lunch of famous dim sum. San Francisco’s Chinatown is known to be the largest Chinatown in America. We ended the visit with some bubble tea and made our way to the Bay Club for some training to work off the calories we ingested.

After a great training session, we had some downtime at the hotel before our New Years Eve dinner at this amazing French-American fusion restaurant called LuLu. During dinner some girls made wonderful toasts to the team. It was a remarkable opportunity to be able to spend this holiday together as a team because occasions like this bring us all together and bonds us as a “squamily” - also known as - “squash family”. Dinner ended pretty early so we went back to the hotel torelax before braving the cold to watch the fireworks on the bay. It was a delightful end to the day and also to the year of 2014 as we welcome the New Year united as a team. We are positive 2015 will bring Penn Squash towards a bigger and brighter future.

Till next year,
-Yan Xin Tan (C’16) and Michelle Wong (C’17

Dec. 30
Our first full day in San Francisco was perfect. The day began with a great hotel breakfast, followed by a walk down by the marina around Fort Mason. The sun was shining brightly over the Golden Gate Bridge, and the weather was a crisp 50 degrees. We walked up Lombard Street, which is the most crooked street in the world - you can even see how crooked it is on Google maps!

After our walk, we headed to practice at the Olympic Club near Union Square. We had a great session, which included a fitness circuit, match play, and target practice. The club was beautiful and we cannot wait to go back.

After training, we went to Russian Hill and had a great lunch. We walked around, discovered cool coffee shops, and mingled with locals. In fact, three Penn alumni approached us and wished us luck for our upcoming matches.

Our second training session was at the Bay Club, and we had a great hit. Everyone was in high spirits and the energy each player exuded was contagious. The highlight of our first visit to the Bay Club was getting to use the club’s luxurious changing rooms; the showers were amazing!

We then headed to Fisherman’s Wharf for dinner at an Italian restaurant where we had great service, food, and conversation. The night ended with a chilly walk back to the hotel where we were very happy to relax after a busy day!

-Ali Richmond '18 and Grace van Arkel '17

Dec. 29
The women's squash team arrived to sunshine and warm temperatures yesterday after a cross country flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco!

The morning started early with the team arriving at 7 a.m. to the Ringe Squash Courts, followed by a short train ride from University City to the Philadelphia International Airport. A nice team breakfast at Au Bon Pain followed by stories from everyone’s break quickly made time elapse before the flight.

A smooth six hour journey in which the players read books, slept, or watched movies allowed the team some recovery from the two training sessions that they had had at Penn the day before.

We arrived in San Francisco to sunshine and beautiful temperatures, and after quickly checking into our rooms, the team headed down to the water to enjoy a "late lunch" with the view of the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. No rest for the weary however, as the girls changed into their workout gear and went for a run along the bay to get their "flight legs" out from under them. An Italian dinner followed, which allowed everyone to fuel up for the upcoming week ahead!

The team is looking forward to visiting the Olympic Club and Bay Club tomorrow for training, along with walking through the various markets that San Francisco has to offer! The team is in amazing spirits at the moment and looking forward to the challenges and amazing times that lie ahead of them.

-Assistant Coach Gilly Lane