By Tom Utescher
Building up steam heading into the Mid-Atlantic Squash Association tournament at the end of this month, Germantown Friends extended its regular-season match record to 6-1 last week with a pair of victories. Hosting both bouts at the Germantown Cricket Club, the Tigers took down Friends Schools League rival Shipley School, 5-2, on Tuesday, then swept the Harriton/Lower Merion High School squad on Friday afternoon, 7-0.
The Shipley Gators gave GFS a good workout at the start of the week, with only one of the seven official best-of-five-games contests ending with a 3-0 score. The lone sweep was turned in by Germantown senior Alex Nalle, who dispatched Shipley number two Mike Gagnier.
There were 3-1 victories for Tigers junior Diego Sanz (over Ian Udvarheyli at number three) and sophomore Max McCafferty (over Nat Fry at number four). Pulling out 3-2 victories for the home team were sophomore David Sneed, who won at number five against Ted Nehrbas, and senior Cole McCourt, who rallied from 0-2 to prevail over Shipley’s sixth man, Kevin Staples.
On the other end of a 3-2 score was GFS sophomore Drew Wallace, who was edged in the seventh position by visitor Ridge Woods. David Sneed’s brother Dan, a senior veteran at number one, succumbed to Shipley’s Brian Henry by a score of 3-1. Two other Tigers, tenth-graders Sam Conant and Sam York, each won an exhibition match in Tuesday’s encounter.
Germantown senior Ben York (Sam’s sibling) was out sick for the set-to with Shipley (which was also missing one of its regulars), but he was back in his customary number five spot three days later, when the Tigers welcomed the Harriton/Lower Merion combinbation team.
This amalgam consisted of Matt Cooper, Josh Marks, Joey Gringold, Will Tobias, Max Novick, and Max Eisenberg of the Lower Merion Aces, and Timmy Brooks, Jon Abrams, Mike Contra, and David Litmer of the Harriton Rams.
While the Tigers won everywhere, they were overpowering in the middle of the line-up. McCafferty mastered Gringold at number four, 11-5, 11-4, 11-3, and one rung down Ben York took out Tobias, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7. In the sixth spot David Sneed was also a 3-0 victor, winning his three games at six, love, and seven against HLM’s Abrams.
The visiting Brooks opened with an 11-8 win at number three, but then was settled by Sanz, 11-7, 11-3, 11-3, while in the seventh position McCourt overcame Contra in four rounds, 12-10, 11-4, 8-11, 11-7. Up at number two, Germantown’s Nalle cruised in the first two games, 11-2, 11-5, but HLM’s Marks took the next two frames, 12-10, 11-9, forcing a fifth game where Nalle emerged on top, 11-5.
The number one match between Dan Sneed and the visitors’ Cooper also went the distance. Sneed confidently claimed an 11-5 victory in the initial game, placing his shots cleverly to make Cooper scramble all over the court. Up by four points in game two, it looked as though the GFS senior might end the match quickly, but Cooper hit his stride and fought back tenaciously. The game turned into a marathon that was ultimately won, 19-17, by Cooper, who then pocketed the third game as well, 11-8.
Now confronted with elimination himself, Sneed evened the match at 2-2 by taking the fourth game in extra innings, 13-11. His momentum carried over into game five, which he won at 11-7 when a stroke by Cooper sent the ball high off the front surface and out above the boundary stripe on the left side-wall.