by Tom Utescher
The line-ups were out of the ordinary for both schools, but that actually made for more competitive squash down at Penn Charter last Thursday afternoon, when the Quakers played host to the Blue Devils of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy.
In their first contest of 2012, SCH had beaten PC, 9-0, and for last week’s rematch the Quakers were missing two nicked up players, regular number one Randy Beck and number three Luke Angelakis. Without the two juniors, the encounter would have been so unbalanced it would’ve offered little benefit for either side, so to make things more interesting, SCH brought only some of its top nine racquetmen and filled out the side with junior varsity players.
Even with an intact line-up, the Quakers have struggled at times this winter, but one day before the second SCH match, PC (3-7 overall) was able to capture its third win of the season. With Beck and Angelakis both in action, Charter got the better of Germantown Friends, 6-3. Angelakis won his individual match, as did senior Alex Reisley, juniors August Crofton and Scott Marcus, sophomore Quinn Crofton, and freshman Owen Davis.
SCH arrived on Thursday with a 5-2 record, with both losses coming by 4-5 scores against Episcopal Academy and Haverford School. The squad made the short trip to School House Lane without seniors Alex Ambrosini, Augie Frank, and Laurenson Ward, junior Alex McCall, sophomore Philip Kelly, and freshman Brian Hamilton.
The adjustments to the Blue Devils’ line-up meant that their regular number four player, sophomore Brian Giegerich, was now up in the top spot, while the number nine for this particular outing, junior Seth Bakes, rose up from the 15th rung on the team ladder.
Three of the nine bouts extended past the three-game minimum. Two juniors squared off in the fourth position, where the Devils’ Christian Dorff overcame August Crofton, 11-2, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6. At number seven, visiting freshman Michael Bown prevailed, 11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 20-18, over PC’s Quinn Crofton.
In the ninth spot, the height and reach of SCH’s Bakes was countered by the quickness of Charter sophomore Noah Hollin. Bakes emerged the winner in five rounds, 4-11, 11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8.
In the sixth and eighth matches, SCH seniors overcame Penn Charter freshmen. Sixth man Sam Sheppard topped the Quakers’ Davis, 14-12, 11-9, 11-7, while Greg Baird won, 11-4, 11-5, 11-2, against the host team’s number eight, Aiden Porges. Matt Giegerich, the ninth-grade brother of Brian Giegerich, took the measure of PC’s number five, Marcus, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8.
The Devils’ junior number three, Peter Ferraro, triumphed 11-3, 11-9, 11-5 over senior host Luke Schweitzer, while up at number two the games lasted a little longer, with SCH sophomore Mason Blake beating junior Max Reiff, 11-7, 12-10, 11-8.
The elder Geigerich captured the first two games for SCH in the number one match, 11-6, 11-7. Charter’s Alex Reisley, a senior bound for Bowdoin College, went ahead in the middle of the third game, but lost momentum with one shot into the tin and another above the upper boundary. With the game tied at 10-all, Giegerich aimed a ball that died in the right rear corner, then for match point he went to the front corner on the same side.
The Blue Devils will now look to avenge their close losses to Episcopal and Haverford. They actually have a leg up on Haverford in the seeding for the high school national championships, since only the top seven matches figure into that process, and SCH won four of the top seven places in their first clash with the Fords.