The 2023/24 SDA season kicked off in Philadelphia last weekend. The inaugural Czar League/Frank Reidy Open hosted by Germantown Cricket Club and organized by club pro Lauren West was run in conjunction with ‘Women’s Squash Week’. The event featured a $15,000 women’s pro draw, women’s clinics and women’s drop in round robins, leading to more than 60 female participants over the course of the weekend.
The pro draw was won by #1 ranked team Maria Elena Ubina and Kayley Leonard. The top seeds had to fight back from 2-0 in the final against surprise opponents Nikki Todd and Suzie Pierrepont. This was Pierrepont’s first event since sustaining a knee injury early in the 2022/23 season. Elsewhere in the draw local pros Lauren West and Georgina Stoker generated a loud and enthusiastic crowd in winning their quarter final against tour veterans Stephanie Hewitt and Kelsey Engman before losing in an 80-minute 5 game semi-final to Pierrepont/Todd.
The first event of the year saw a number of new faces join the SDA ranks, including former PSA player Haley Mendez and current PSA #33 Lucy Beecroft, adding to the growing number of college grads exploring the competitive opportunities the SDA has on offer. The next SDA women’s event will take place at the University Club of New York, October 20th -23rd while the first men’s event will be the long running Big Apple Open at the New York Athletic Club, October 26-30th.
‘After a tough match in the finals, we were very excited to be able to walk away with a victory. We knew going into it that Suzie and Nikki are individually talented, and they came on strong together. After the first two games, we knew we had to readjust our strategy if we wanted a chance to turn it around. Ultimately, that was the key to our later success.
It was a fun first tournament of the season and we look forward to returning to Germantown next year!’ Maria Elena Ubina
‘We had a hard fought battle with Suzie and Nikki…no better way to start the season! They came out strong in the first two games but we adjusted our game plan to become more patient and develop our rallies before going short. It came down to the wire in the fifth, but we’re able to pull out the W in the last few points. I am sure we will have many more exciting battles to come this season!’ Kayley Leonard