Senior Hannah Safford secured the number two match for Germantown Friends in last Wednesday’s win over Lawrenceville School. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Senior Hannah Safford secured the number two match for Germantown Friends in last Wednesday’s win over Lawrenceville School. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

After opening the new year by splitting a pair of squash matches against Inter-Ac League rivals, the Germantown Friends School girls moved over to the Mid-Atlantic Prep League to find their next opponent.

Last Thursday at the Germantown Cricket Club, the Tigers won six of the top seven matches to post a 6-3 victory over visiting Lawrenceville School, which re-crossed the Delaware with an overall record of 3-5.

GFS improved to 4-2 overall, with its last regular-season match coming up against the only other Friends Schools League institution to field a varsity team in the sport, Shipley School.

Before the holiday break, the Tigers took down Penn Charter and Springside Chestnut Hill, and succumbed to Episcopal Academy. In the first full week of 2015, Germantown knocked off Agnes Irwin, then fell to Baldwin School. Baldwin has ruled the local girls squash scene in recent years, but lost last month, 1-8, to a group of young rising stars at Episcopal.

GFS meanwhile, has been playing all season without its original projected number one player, Grayson Melby. A senior who will continue her racquet career at Stanford University, Melby suffered a knee injury in a soccer playoff game in November.

The Tigers couldn’t have found anyone with a more positive attitude to step into the spotlight than senior Annie Tyson, who will join the rapidly growing program at the University of Virginia. Winning her first two games last Wednesday against fellow senior Esther Baek of Lawrenceville, 11-3, 11-7, Tyson slipped behind Beck, 7-8, late in the third round, but recovered to wrap up the match with an 11-8 score.

Lawrenceville made some inroads at the other end of the team ladder. The sophomore number eight for the Big Red, Emma Dasgupta, won three close games over Tigers senior Ann Carpenter, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9, and in a bout between freshmen at number nine, visitor Claire Garcia took an 11-3, 11-4, 11-4 decision from Celia Meyer of GFS.

Another Lawrenceville ninth-grader, Carly Martinson, opened the number seven contest with an 11-4 win, but GFS junior Elizabeth Wallace rebounded to take the next three games, 11-7, 11-7, 11-3. Two juniors jousted in the six spot, and here Germantown’s Isabel Schmidt used an 11-1 debut as the foundation for a 3-0 sweep. Lawrenceville’s Janie Hopkins captured more points in the next two games, but still fell short, 6-11, 7-11.

The Tigers also took the number five match in straight games, with scores of 11-3, 11-4, 11-6 put up by sophomore Caroline Caraballo as she subdued junior Sophie Garcia of the Garden State squad.

In addition to wins at number eight and nine, the Big Red picked up a “W” at number four. Germantown freshman Alex Pear was injured in the initial minutes of the match, and was forced to withdraw, ceding the bout to a Lawrenceville senior, Sinclair Meggitt. Another visiting 12th-grader, Alexis Slattery, found tougher going against GFS number three Daisy Lentz. Only an eighth-grader, Lentz won in three games, 11-7, 11-8, 11-4.

Helping provide GFS with more than the basic winning margin was senior veteran Hannah Safford, who is bound for Brown University. Safford was in command for the first two segments, winning 11-5, 11-3, but Big Red sophomore Virginia Schaus dug in and extended the match with an 11-9 victory in game three. The visiting 10th-grader continued to battle in the fourth round, but a determined Safford prevailed, 11-8.

Observing the match was a pair of freshmen from the Princeton University women’s team. One was current Princeton number one Olivia Feichter, the best player ever to wear a GFS uniform, and the other was Lawrenceville grad Natalie Tung.