The University of California-Berkeley (Cal) and Stanford University—two world-renowned academic institutions just an hour apart in the San Francisco Bay area—will renew their sports rivalries during the Oracle NetSuite Open on Sunday, September 26, at 2pm, on the Squash Engine Glass Court at Embarcadero Plaza in San Francisco
Football has the Big Game, Water Polo has the Big Splash, and now squash will clash in the Big Squash. Featuring a modified scoring format due to time constraints on the day of the semifinals for the men’s and women’s Oracle NetSuite Open, five men from Cal’s club squash team will take on three of Stanford’s varsity women and two men from their club team.
The Big Squash marks the return of Stanford women’s squash to varsity status after the university announced, in July 2020, that 11 sports (including squash) would be dropped from varsity status due to financial challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, last May, the university reversed that decision because of intense alumni pressure and a burgeoning fundraising campaign for university athletics. All 11 sports have been reinstated to full varsity status.
The Big Squash exhibition will mark the first college squash competition of the 2021/2022 season after the pandemic shut down nearly all competition in 2020/2021. The Stanford women’s team ended the most recent complete College Squash Association season (2019/2020) ranked No. 6, while the Cal men’s team capped their rise in the rankings to become the strongest club team in the country at No. 30 that season—taking the mantle from the Stanford men who finished the season at No. 45.