by Tom Utescher
The girls squash team at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy has been able to use its strength on the bottom half of the team ladder to defeat a number of opponents this winter, even though those rivals had more talent in the top positions.
Last Tuesday, the Germantown Friends School Tigers arrived in Chestnut Hill (where a number of them live, to begin with) and proved too powerful for the host Lions, winning not only the top spots but also the middle matches that SCH has relied on to tilt team scores in its favor.
Capturing the top six bouts, the triumphant Tigers completed their regular season with a record of 7-2, with the only shortfalls coming against Baldwin School and Episcopal Academy. The SCH Lions were able to emerge from Tuesday’s setback with their record still above the .500 mark, at 7-6.
A pair of freshmen provided Germantown with important victories in the middle of the line-up, each playing against older opponents. Number four Grayson Melby knocked off SCH sophomore Courtney Hamilton, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6, and one rung below Annie Tyson turned in scores of 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 against Lions senior Kelly Brady.
Another important win for the visitors came in the sixth spot, courtesy of junior Anna Bezahler. A member of the highly-regarded GFS tennis team last fall, Bezahler displayed her tenacity with a squash racquet in a five-game affair. SCH senior Sam Blake stepped out to a 2-0 lead in the encounter, 11-6, 11-4, but Bezahler battled back to bag the next three games, 11-5, 14-12, 11-4.
Another senior for the host team, Ellie Stout, secured the seventh spot for the Lions, winning 11-5, 11-8, 11-1 against visiting tenth grader Claire Schmidt. One of Bezahler’s classmates and GFS tennis teammates, Lauren Shinn, was competing in the eighth spot on Tuesday, where she fell to SCH sophomore Nina Nalle, 11-9, 11-5, 11-4. Nalle’s older brother, Alex, is a former number one for Germantown Friends.
In the number nine contest at SCH, two Hannahs had at it, with the Lions’ Hannah Baxter taking an 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 decision over the Tigers’ Hannah Safford. They are 11th and ninth graders, respectively.
The outcome of the number four through nine matches produced a 3-3 team tally, but anyone with even a passing familiarity with the local squash scene knew that the Tigers were just going to be too strong for SCH up top. Germantown number one Olivia Fiechter, a sophomore who is a member of the U.S. Junior National Team, took down Lions senior Libbie Maine, 11-1, 11-3, 11-3.
The Tigers’ two future Ivy Leaguers also came through for the visitors. Number two Carey Celata, who will attend the University of Pennsylvania, was an 11-2, 11-5, 11-8 winner over SCH sophomore Caroline Canning, and fellow Germantown senior Lydie McKenzie, who is headed for Dartmouth, subdued the Lions’ freshman number three, Francesca Fabiani, 11-0, 11-3, 11-4.