by Tom Utescher
On consecutive days last week, the girls’ and boys’ varsity squash teams at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy pleased home fans by winning opening-round matches in the Division I bracket of the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Squash Association (MASA) championships. On Wednesday afternoon the girls knocked off Agnes Irwin by a 6-3 count, and the following day the SCH boys’ “A” team, the defending MASA champions, skipped past the Haverford School “B” team, 9-0.
Playing without their regular number two, the Blue Devil girls still got by Irwin with room to spare. The only SCH player who didn’t move up a spot was junior number one Samira Baird, who fell to visitor Anna Marie Manning, 11-4, 11-9, 11-5. Bumping up to number two, Blue Devils sophomore Taylor Ferry took the opening game in her match, 11-5, but the Owls’ Katherine Glaser evened things up with an 11-4 win in the second round. Glaser then ground out two 13-11 games for the victory.
The next six bouts in the order belonged to SCH, starting with sophomore number three Joia McGivern’s gutsy 12-14, 13-11, 11-3, 11-7 effort against Kat Bottger. Fellow Blue Devils 10th-grader Grace Torsella topped guest Rose Lawrence at number five, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8. For Irwin, everyone from Lawrence on down was a “bump-up” since the regular number five for the Owls was out of action.
Three other Springside Chestnut Hill wins in the contest were furnished by freshmen. Lilly Soroko was an 11-8, 11-7, 12-10 winner at number four against Isabella Schneider, number six Grace Rorke conquered Katherine Pew, 11-4, 12-10, 11-6, and number seven Hannah Larkin leveled Irwin’s Catie Burkhart, 11-6, 11-0, 11-7.
The SCH senior captain, Allison Day, opened with an 11-7 win against Owls number eight Sophie Yass, but in a second game that went well into extra innings, Yass prevailed at 18-16 to pull even. Day refocused to work through each of the last two games, 11-4.
Irwin’s third victory came in the number nine spot, where the other Blue Devil senior in the line-up, Josephine Surer, succumbed to Liesel Ferguson, 11-3, 11-4, 11-6.
The next day, the action shifted across the street to SCH’s Willow Grove campus, where the Blue Devil boys swept Haverford “B,” which is basically the Fords’ number 10 through 18 players.
The only encounter not decided in three straight games was the number nine match, where Haverford’s Sebastian Yager started out with a 14-12 victory and SCH junior Andrew Dolente came back to secure the next three segments, 11-4, 12-10, 11-6. His 11th-grade classmates, Harrison Kapp and Henry Kelly, won at number five and number seven, respectively. It was Kapp over Tyler Burt, 11-7, 11-4, 11-7, and Kelly jarring Jack Burton, 11-3, 11-2, 11-7.
In the eighth spot, sophomore host Luke Stauffer put up scores of 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 against the Fords’ Nick Magnani, while SCH senior number six Michael Bown beat Cal Williams of Haverford, 11-5, 11-6, 11-1. Another Blue Devil senior, Brian Hamilton, went to 14-12 to secure his opening game against Haverford number three Bill Wu, then Hamilton locked up the next two games more easily, 11-3, 11-4. One rung below, sophomore Zane Jeka gave the hosts an 11-8, 11-5, 11-2 win over visitor M.J. Tricolli.
There was little drama in either of the top two bouts. Sophomore number two Chris Dalglish breezed by P.J. Radden of Haverford, 11-2, 11-5, 11-3, while Radden’s teammate Drew Clark experienced similar difficulties in the premier position, where Blue Devils senior Matt Giegerich rolled, 11-4, 11-2, 11-3.
In other first round MASA action, the Germantown Friends girls defeated Penn Charter, 6-3, while the GFS boys beat the Harriton/Lower Merion combo team, 7-2. In Division II play in the boys’ tournament, Penn Charter defeated the Hill School, 8-1.