SCH junior number one Sam Shropshire lays into a two-fisted backhand shot. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Capturing the first two matches in both singles and doubles competition, the boys’ tennis team at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy clinched a 4-3 victory over visiting Malvern Prep last Tuesday in a contest that was the Inter-Ac League opener for both teams.

In earlier, non-league encounters, the SCH Blue Devils (2-1 overall) topped Shipley School in a scrimmage, opened their official match schedule with a win against Germantown Friends, and then fell to Friends Central. The Malvern Friars were 1-1 when they arrived in Chestnut Hill last week.

SCH dominated in the top two singles matches. Sophomore number two Pat Feighery, a transfer from Springfield High School, didn’t drop a game in his victory over the visitors’ Ian McLarney, and the Devils’ junior number one, Sam Shropshire, won 6-1, 6-1 against Connor Bradley of Malvern.

Active on the junior tournament circuit, Shropshire is not always able to attend matches for his high school team. Last month he traveled to Mobile, Ala. to compete in the USTA National Spring Championships. He is ranked second in the Middle States section, while in the USTA national rankings he is 54th overall in the 18’s category, and 38th among members of the Class of 2013.

There were a number of extended point sequences at first doubles, but in the end the victorious SCH duo won most of them to post convincing scores of 6-2, 6-0. Sophomore Harrison Tracy and freshman Jay Regam played the for the Blue Devils against Malvern’s Brandon Butz and Ryan Robinson.

The other doubles victory for the home team came in the second flight, where senior Crosby Harris and junior Tim Ogle overcame Alexander Tran and Nick Zimniski of the Friars, 6-1, 6-3.

Malvern’s Julian Gaashce and Jon Dolfus dealt a 7-6, 6-3 loss to Springside Chestnut Hill senior Johnny Hass and sophomore Alex Farley at third doubles, and the Friars also claimed the fourth flight, where junior Abe Bilger and sophomore Josh Clarke of the Devils fell to visitors Michael Lamond and John Tocci, 6-0, 7-5 (11-9).

The SCH squad had gained the four match wins necessary to clinch the team victory, but one bout was still in progress, as Devils sophomore Josh Moss battled back and forth with Malvern’s Colin Sweeney at third singles. Sweeney took the first set, 6-4, but Moss rebounded to win the second segment, 6-3. Because the overall outcome had already been determined, a full third set was replaced by a super tiebreak. Moss lost it, locking in the final team score at 4-3.