by Tom Utescher
Last Friday, morning rains departed in time for the tennis courts at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy to dry, and thus allowed the Blue Devil racquetmen to claim their first victory of the season. The 6-0 decision over visiting Friends Central School was also the team’s first win under new head coach Karen Simeone, who is the fourth coach the team has had in as many years.
Simeone, who grew up in this area and graduated from Springfield Township High School, most recently coached scholastic tennis at Methacton High School. She guided the daughter’s Methacton team all the way to the PIAA state championship match.
Then, with both her daughter and her son in college (Nick Simeone is currently a sophomore on the tennis team at Arcadia University), Simeone moved from Collegeville to Oreland, close to her own roots. She discovered a coaching opportunity almost on her doorstep, learning that Springside Chestnut Hill was looking for a new mentor for its racquetmen.
Things got off to a bit of a bumpy start, with unseasonable weather scuttling some practices and scrimmages, and also with a tough outing last Thursday against Germantown Friends, which followed sophomore number one Henry Ruger to a 7-0 victory.
The Blue Devils’ spirits improved as a result of Friday’s encounter with Friends Central. The visiting Phoenix arrived also seeking their first win, having succumbed to SCH’s Inter-Ac colleague, Germantown Academy. Because of an FC injury, a fourth doubles match was not played, so there were six contests overall.
SCH senior Augie Sissik finished up first at third singles, overcoming Phoenix sophomore Sylvan Davidson, 6-0, 6-1.
At first and second singles, it was 6-3 scores all around as the two Blue Devil players went through in straight sets. Jordan Lubell knocked off fellow senior Ethan Broadus of Friends Central in the top spot, and at number two sophomore Levi Veleanu topped visiting junior Gavin Sultan.
The fourth victory in the six-match affair came to Springside Chestnut Hill in the third doubles bout. Here, juniors Cole Golden and Simon Kioko were 6-1, 6-0 winners against FC sophomore Thad Bashaw and freshman Liam Giszter.
At second doubles, SCH junior Ehson Shirazi teamed up with the youngest player on the courts, eighth-grader David Lubell (brother of Jordan), to dispatch sophomore Ben Miller and junior Peter Salgado of the Phoenix in a pair of 6-2 sets.
Capping off a perfect Blue Devil day with a hard-fought straight-sets victory in the first flight, sophomore Carlo Filippini and junior Victor Jones put up scores of 6-4, 7-5 against FC junior Erich DeBaun and senior Peter Gullace.