Sophomore Victor Jones was playing in the second singles spot for SCH last Thursday. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

With suitable tennis weather finally arriving last week after many postponements and cancellations for area teams at the start of the season, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy paid a visit to Germantown Friends for a non-league bout last Thursday afternoon.

It was played according to the Friends Schools League format of the host Tigers, who won all three singles flights and one of the two doubles contests to collect a 4-1 victory. There was also a third doubles match played as an exhibition, and GFS prevailed here, as well.

Germantown had just played its first match of the spring, opening up in the FSL by rolling past Abington Friends School. SCH arrived with a 2-1 mark against non-league opponents, and GFS was pleased to learn that one of the Blue Devils’ victories had come against Friends League member Friends Central.

Justin Gilmore is now in his second year as head coach for both the boys’ and girls’ teams at GFS. Springside Chestnut Hill has recently filled a vacancy in that post, with boys’ squash assistant coach Peter Carlisle now moving outside to head the tennis team. Carlisle was a tennis instructor in his native Massachusetts, but came to SCH last fall directly from England, where he earned graduate degrees and also served as captain of the squash team at the University of London.

GFS freshman number one Henry Ruger eyes up a shot. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Also new to the SCH coaching staff is David Negron, who is an instructor at the Legacy Youth Tennis and Education Center and is a former Chestnut Hill College player.

The host of last Thursday’s match, Germantown Friends, has its top two positions filled by freshmen this spring, Henry Ruger at first singles, and Danny Loder in the second spot. Ruger’s 11th-grade sister, Helen, is a former GFS number one who has now taken her talents to the cross country and track teams.

Both young Tigers posted straight-sets victories, Ruger knocking off SCH junior Jordan Lubell, 6-1, 6-2, and Loder going past Blue Devils sophomore Victor Jones, 6-3, 6-2. At third singles, it was Springside Chestnut Hill that had the younger contestant, freshman Levi Veleanu. He won the second set, 6-1, but GFS junior Zak Schneider secured both the first and the third at 6-3 for the win.

The fourth victory for the Tigers came at first doubles, a 6-1, 6-2 verdict for sophomore Tim Peterson and senior Jeremy Berman over two visiting 10th-graders, Ehson Shirazi and Cole Golden.

The last match on the court was the second doubles contest pitting Germantown Friends sophomores Gray Palmer and Michael Harrity against ninth-grade SCH twins Carlo and Sante Filippini. The twins’ older sister, Remi Filippini, is a 2016 graduate of SCH who is now playing Division I field hockey at Colgate University.

The brothers ground out a 7-5 win in the first set, and the Tiger tandem answered by taking the second segment, 6-4. Things got a little chippy concerning some line calls in the middle of the bout, but the lads finished it out in an orderly fashion, with the Blue Devil freshmen winning the third set, 6-1, to save their team from a GFS sweep.

In the exhibition doubles match, Germantown juniors Gabe Goldberg and Aaron Loder won, 6-1, 7-5, against SCH sophomores Nick Dolente and Simon Kioko.

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