by Tom Utescher
Winning two of the first three tennis matches to finish in the penultimate Friends Schools League contest of the regular season, host Germantown Friends only needed to prevail in one more bout to clinch a victory over the visiting Foxes of Moorestown Friends.
Unfortunately for the Tigers and the home crowd, the Garden State girls would win both the first singles match and a three-set struggle at second doubles to carry the day, 3-2.
Before this, the only FSL loss for GFS had come against league leader Shipley School. The Gators had topped the Tigers 4-1 in an affair that featured a number of close sets, according to first-year Germantown coach Justin Gilmore.
Moorestown had lost to Shipley 2-3, and the Foxes had also succumbed by the same score to Friends Central, a team GFS had beaten 3-2. Wednesday’s outcome left both Germantown and Moorestown with identical win/loss records of 4-2 in the league. On Friday each team finished regular-season play with a 5-2 mark and they wrapped up their scheduled slate of matches with 5-0 victories, GFS over Westtown, and Moorestown over George School.
This left Shipley as the clear top seed for the four team FSL tournament, and the Tigers, Foxes, and FC Phoenix in a three-way tie. Since the head-to-head tiebreaker won’t work here, a secondary formula will be employed to sort out the second through fourth seeds.
In their meeting with Moorestown in the middle of last week, the Tigers had sophomore Lindsay Golden post a 6-0, 6-3 victory at third singles over visiting senior Paige Hurley, but the Foxes countered with a 6-1, 6-0 verdict at second singles, where visiting junior Jess Ferber took the measure of Germantown senior Sophie Bunson.
Just a little bit after that the first doubles match wrapped up, and here sophomore Caroline Kavanagh and freshman Malana Li overcame the MFS duo of Sasha Katsnelson and Margaux Fox, 6-3, 6-2, moving the hosts ahead 2-1 in the team score.
The visitors evened things up with a positive result at first singles. Moorestown junior Grace Kim, a scrappy player who fights to get to every ball, took down talented Tigers sophomore Helen Ruger, 7-5, 6-2.
Things had looked good for Germantown Friends early on in the second doubles contest, as seniors Eliza Cohen and Mavis U Chen captured the first set at 6-3. However, visitors Brady Sloan and Priya Petel recovered nicely to win the second round, 6-0. As other athletes whose matches had ended gathered around this court to watch a no-add third set, Sloan and Patel put together a 6-2 win to clinch the team victory for Moorestown.