by Tom Utescher
The girls’ squash team at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy won the first and last matches in the 2013 portion of its schedule, and in between the Blue Devils suffered setbacks against three of the stronger opponents they’ll face all winter.
Delaware’s St. Andrew’s School came north for the season opener, then returned home from Chestnut Hill with only a win in the number nine match reflected in a 1-8 loss to the Blue Devils, who actually were not at full strength. In fact, due to injury, illness, etc., veteran head coach Rich Sheppard has not had his original projected starting line-up available for any of the five matches his club has played so far.
After vanquishing the Saints, it was into the meat grinder for the local racquetwomen. They dropped 8-1 verdicts to Germantown Friends and Episcopal Academy, while falling to Baldwin in between by a 7-2 score. The Devils were able to make their exit for the holiday break coming off of a victory, as they engineered a 5-4 decision over fellow Northwest Philly and Inter-Ac League rival Penn Charter last Thursday afternoon.
In other matches between the two schools in recent year, SCH was able to use its team depth to offset the PC Quakers’ strength at the top of the ladder. The same scenario played out in this year’s meeting, with Charter capturing bouts number one through four, but Springside Chestnut Hill taking the next five.
Each team was missing a sophomore who regularly appears in the line-up. SCH made do without its usual number three, Samira Baird, while Penn Charter arrived without Jordyn Schwartz to play the number six spot.
Quakers number one Margaux Losty, a senior, topped SCH junior Francesca Fabiani, 3-1, and at number two visiting junior Izzy Hirshberg won in three games over Blue Devils senior Caroline Canning.
A freshman for the home team, Taylor Ferry, had been the lone winner in the Episcopal match, but now she faced an even younger, and very talented rival in PC’s Elisabeth Ross. The Quakers’ seventh-grader secured the number three match for her squad, 3-0, but Charter’s fourth victory of the day did not come as easily.
As two 12th-graders faced one another in the fourth position, the Blue Devils’ Courtney Hamilton put the first and third games in her column, 12-10, 11-6, but visitor Danielle Reisley prevailed 11-8 in the second round and 11-6 in the fourth. Reisley then tipped the balance her way with an 11-7 win in the fifth game.
As if someone had flipped a switch, players for the home team won by 3-0 scores the rest of the way down the ladder, starting with freshman Grace Torsella’s bout against PC senior Leigh Steinberg at number five. Another ninth-grader, Joia McGivern, knocked off junior Claudia Dykstra at number eight, but youth was not as well served at number eight, where Quakers eighth-grader Gwen Davis succumbed to her junior host, Allison Day.
Two seniors rounded out the team victory for the Blue Devils, Leah Beight beating Charter sophomore Jenni Bown in the seventh spot, while at number nine SCH’s Sarrah Schreffler settled Sydney Stokes, a fellow 12th grader.