by Tom Utescher
The home squash courts of Germantown Friends School and Penn Charter are little more than a mile apart, but that was about the only thing that was close when the girls of GFS made a short trip to visit the PC Quakers last Thursday afternoon.
With all but one of the individual contests decided in three straight games in the customary best-of-five format, the visiting Tigers charged to an 8-1 triumph.
Penn Charter picked up its solitary victory in a bout between sophomores in the number two match, where the Quakers’ Izzy Hirshberg, just back off the sick list, mustered up a 13-11, 11-8, 11-4 win over another talented 10th-grader, Grayson Melby.
In the top spot, the Tigers’ Olivia Fiechter remained undefeated in interscholastic matches with an 11-1, 11-4, 11-5 win over fellow junior Margaux Losty of the Quakers. Both athletes, along with a number of other local players, were at Harvard University in the middle of last month for the 2012 U.S. Junior Open Squash Championships, a major tournament that includes both American and foreign players.
Fiechter, a Chestnut Hill resident and a U.S. Junior National Team player, finished third in Boston, while Losty reached the consolation quarterfinals.
With Feichter on the top rung of the team ladder, GFS has gone 4-1 so far in interscholastic matches. In addition to the recent win over Charter, the Tigers topped another familiar rival, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, in their season opener. The lone loss came against Baldwin School, a program that has established a national presence in recent years. Fiechter was the lone victor in that 8-1 setback.
The Quakers lost to Baldwin by the same score, saved from a sweep by Losty in a five-game battle against the Bears’ junior number one, Selena Maity. Charter has also struggled in other matches mainly due to lack of depth on the squad, with some inexperienced players, including one beginner, in some of the lower positions. The team’s 2-3 record includes wins against the Harriton/Lower Merion H.S. combo team and a fledgling Friends Central squad.
For last Thursday’s match, Charter was missing regular number four Leigh Steinberg, a junior who celebrated on New Year’s Eve by having her wisdom teeth removed.
Against GFS, junior Danielle Reisley played number three, as usual, falling 11-3, 11-3, 12-10 to visiting sophomore Annie Tyson. The other Quakers bumped up one position, starting with Ryann Schaffer in a number four contest between two seniors. In the only bout not wrapped up in straight games, Germantown Friends’ Anna Bezahler won in four, 11-2, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6.
Two more seniors squared off in the number seven match, where the visitors’ Lauren Shinn overwhelmed PC’s Natalie Badawy, 11-3, 11-3, 11-2. A pair of 11th-graders engaged in the sixth spot, where an 11-5, 11-4, 11-3 outcome favored Germantown’s Claire Schmidt over Gabi Bembry of the host team.
On the middle rung of the team ladder, GFS sophomore number five Hannah Safford subdued Quakers senior Emma Ebert, 11-2, 11-4, 11-7.
The Tigers’ victory was rounded out by a pair of freshmen, number eight Elizabeth Wallace, and Claire Schmidt’s sister Isabel, who played number nine. Wallace went past PC senior Rachael Garnick, 11-2, 11-8, 11-5, and Schmidt swept Sydney Stokes, a junior for the Quakers, 11-2, 11-2, 11-3.