by Tom Utescher
Both sets of squash courts at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy were busy last Tuesday afternoon, when the Blue Devils’ girls’ varsity squad and the boys’ varsity “B” team were in action the Mid-Atlantic Squash Association (MASA) tournament.
In MASA’s Division II bracket, the boys battled to a 5-4 victory over the visiting Germantown Friends School varsity, while in Division I competition the girls cruised past a short-staffed junior varsity squad from Agnes Irwin, 8-1.
Springside Chestnut Hill’s varsity A boys were seeded in Division I in the MASA event, as were the varsity girls of Agnes Irwin, who placed second at the national high school team championships the weekend before.
The boys team from Germantown Friends, entered in Division II, had been strengthened by the recent return of sophomore number one Tommy Fournaris, who had been out with an injury for most of the season.
He gave the Tigers a victory in the top spot last Tuesday, winning 11-2, 11-4, 11-7 over Blue Devils 10th-grader Jake Scholl. The hosts countered with junior Nate McDowell’s 11-7, 3-11, 11-7, 11-8 win over the visitors’ number two player, freshman Sean Park.
Three of the matches went a full five games. GFS captured one of them in the number three spot, where junior James Nalle came from behind to defeat sophomore host Austin Youngren, 11-3, 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8.
SCH emerged on top in the other five-gamers. Finley Blake lost his first two games against fellow senior Eli Eisenstein of the Tigers, 14-12, 11-6, then regrouped and won the last three rounds, 13-11, 11-1, 11-6. Senior number six Charlie Randall prevailed, 11-2, 13-11, 9-11, 1-11, 11-7 against Tigers freshman Gray Kearns.
Up in the fifth position, the Blue Devils picked up an 11-8, 11-9, 12-10 victory from Phil McDowell, who was facing another freshman in Germantown’s Kenji Moriuchi. The fifth win for SCH ended with a score of 11-6, 12-10, 11-7, with sophomore Tommy Scanlin taking the number seven bout over Tigers junior Michael Harrity.
Germantown Friends made the team score close by capturing the number eight and nine matches. Caleb Friedman-Spring, a sophomore, overcame SCH junior number eight Will McHugh, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7, and in the number nine contest Tigers senior Giza Molenar got past Blue Devils freshman Chase Newbold in four, 11-8, 14-12, 7-11, 13-11.
Across the street at SCH’s Cherokee Campus, the Blue Devil girls took control of their match very quickly. Given the strength of the Agnes Irwin varsity, the junior varsity team ordinarily can’t be considered a pushover. Last Tuesday, though, the Irwin jayvees arrived in Chestnut Hill without the top four players on their regular roster.
One of the Owls who did make the trip had to withdraw after losing the opening game at number two to SCH senior Lilly Soroko, 11-3. In the top spot the Blue Devils collected a 3-1 win thanks to eighth-grader Whitney Taylor, who turned in scores of 11-7, 11-2, 9-11, 11-3.
The only other contest to progress past three games came in the lone match that went Irwin’s way. Here, Blue Devils number eight Celia Mazzarelli, a ninth-grader, fell in five, 7-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5, 8-11. One rung down in the ninth position, fellow SCH freshman Charlotte Stahlecker stormed to an 11-0, 11-4, 11-0 triumph.
Soroko’s two senior classmates also gave convincing performances. Number three Hannah Larkin went by her Owls rival in three 11-2 games, while in the fourth flight Grace Rorke, recently returned from sick leave and still hoarse, powered past her Irwin opponent, 11-3, 11-4, 11-4.
Rorke’s sister Abbie, a 10th-grader, held down the number five spot, winning 11-3, 11-9, 11-2, and her sophomore classmate Maggie Pearson was the victor at number six, 11-3, 11-8, 11-4. Junior Audrey Hong handled things in the seventh spot, producing scores of 11-7, 11-3, 11-4.
UPDATE – After Tuesday’s win, the SCH varsity B boys went on to play in the Division II championship match, where they lost, 2-7, to the Penn Charter varsity. The victorious players for the Quakers were seniors Marco Rodriguez and Marker Angelakis (the number one and two players, respectively), juniors Rohan Bhambhani and Tom Bradbeer, sophomore Jack Kennedy and eighth-graders Oliver Leedale-Brown and Hyun Su Price.
Unfortunately, due to various postponements and conflicts, most of the matches to determine the lower places in the tournament (in all divisions) did not take place.