by Tom Utescher
In the last high school squash matches they would play on their home courts at Germantown Cricket Club, seniors Olivia Fiechter and Claire Schmidt both won for Germantown Friends last Thursday.
They captured the number one and five contests, respectively, and the host Tigers also prevailed in the second and fourth positions thanks to juniors Grayson Melby and Hannah Safford. Elsewhere, particularly farther down the ladder, visiting Episcopal Academy emerged victorious and won the hard-fought confrontation, 5-4.
It was essentially a struggle for runner-up honors in the Philadelphia area. Both the Tigers and the EA Churchwomen came into the match with only one loss to a regional opponent, each bowing to a Baldwin School squad that has turned away all local challengers this winter.
While GFS played juniors and seniors at each of the top five positions in its line-up, Episcopal appeared to be the team of the future, deploying freshmen and sophomores in the number one through six matches at Germantown Cricket. The Churchwomen have some talented eighth graders on their farm team, as well.
Unsurprisingly, the shortest match of the day featured Fiechter, a dominating presence on the scholastic scene for years and veteran of a numerous international competitions as a member of the U.S. Junior National Team. Courted ardently by Ivy League colleges, the Chestnut Hill native selected Princeton last fall.
Last Thursday she displayed a confounding array of shots in an 11-0, 11-2, 11-1 triumph against visiting sophomore Madison Soukup, who belongs to a well-known Main Line squash family.
The other member of Germantown Friends’ Class of 2014, Schmidt, joined Fiechter as the focus of the Tigers’ Senior Day ceremony before the competition got underway. Once on the court, Schmidt also ended her contest quickly, putting up scores of 11-4, 11-8, 11-9 against 10th-grader Christina McLaughlin. McLaughlin has two older brothers who each held the number one national ranking for junior players when they performed for Episcopal.
Another sophomore for the Churchwomen, Julia Thompson, took the opening game of her number-two match against Melby, 11-9. Melby evened things up by taking the second round, 11-7, then she bolted out to an 8-0 lead in the third frame before closing it out at 11-4. An 11-8 score in the third clinched the victory for the GFS junior.
To claim the fourth victory for the Tigers, Safford had to go five games in a knock-down-drag-out affair with EA ninth-grader Mimi deLisser. The Germantown number four knew she’d have to win in a marathon session after dropping the first two games, 3-11, 7-11.
Safford steadied herself with an 11-9 win in game three, then captured the next one at 11-6. Topping deLisser in the fifth would be much more difficult, as Episcopal’s freshman number four fought back to extend the game before the GFS player finally prevailed, 15-13.
One rung up the ladder, spectators saw another 15-13 game in the battle between host Annie Tyson, a junior, and EA sophomore Colby Gallagher. The first two games went to the visitor, 11-9, 11-8, as Tyson fell behind early each time and couldn’t quite come all the way back. After Tyson recovered to bring up a game point in the third at 10-8,
Gallagher held on a bit longer before losing by the aforementioned 15-13 tally. The number three for the Churchwomen recaptured her earlier momentum in the fourth game, ending it at 11-4.
Aside from that number three bout, it was Episcopal’s depth farther down the order that carried the day. In a bout between freshmen at number six, Germantown’s Caroline Carabello succumbed to Emily Beinkampen, 12-10, 11-5, 11-6, and at the last three spots GFS players each faced older Episcopal opponents.
Sophomore Elizabeth Wallace went four games in an unsuccessful outing against EA senior number seven Callie Avellino, who prevailed 11-9, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6. The younger sister of the Tigers’ Claire Schmidt, Isabel (a 10th-grader), fell 11-2, 11-1, 11-0 in her number eight match against junior Caroline Jacoby, while at number nine it was EA senior Taryn Gallagher over Germantown junior Ann Carpenter, 11-2, 11-1, 11-0.