Junior Phil Kelly, the number one player for Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, charges to the back of the court to retrieve a ball. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

There were a few new twists in the plot last Tuesday, but ultimately the story had the same ending as the boys of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy faced four-time defending national champion Episcopal Academy for the second time this season. The visiting EA Churchmen got the better of the Blue Devils in a hard-fought squash 6-3 match, duplicating the score turned in by Episcopal on its home courts back in early December.

Little came easily to the Churchmen, though. In a number of games within individual matches, the winner had to score more than the customary 11 points (as in tennis, a game must be won by two points), and six of the nine bouts extended past the minimum of three games, Episcopal winning four of those and SCH, two.

The two setbacks caused by the Churchmen are the only defeats on the season ledger for Springside Chestnut Hill. The Blue Devils owned a 3-2 record after Tuesday’s tilt, while EA took away a mark of 4-0.

In the first encounter between the teams, SCH sophomore Michael Bown sat out to recover from an injury, and the resulting changes in the team line-up had Bown’s classmate Brian Hamilton moving up into the ninth spot on the varsity squad. Hamilton won at EA, as did senior number six Peter Ferraro and number seven Chris Dalglish, only an eighth-grader.

Last week, Bown was back playing number eight, and Hamilton was still able to see action in the ninth position. Bown pulled out a heated five-gamer against fellow 10th-grader Will Ruggerio of Episcopal, 11-9, 12-14, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, but in a match of similar duration Hamilton was edged, 11-5, 12-14, 10-12, 11-8, 7-11 by Doug Trimble, a senior for the Churchmen.

SCH picked up its other two victories in the sixth and seventh spots. Ferraro, who was accepted at the University of Pennsylvania back in December, prevailed by winning games one, two, and four at 12-10, while EA junior Aaron Kim captured the third game, 11-8. Another Episcopal 11th-grader, Jeffery Hu, suffered a 5-11, 5-11, 10-12 loss to the hosts’ Dalglish.

A three-game match went the other way in the fifth position, where visitor Pat McCarthy won 11-3, 11-9, 11-9 over a fellow senior, SCH’s Christian Dorff.

The Blue Devils’ Giegerich brothers, junior Brian and sophomore Matt, each succumbed in four games to EA seniors. Will Ruggerio’s older brother, Jamie, topped Brian Giegerich, 11-7, 3-11, 11-6, 11-8, while Matt met Kevin Flannery of the Churchmen, who won 10-12, 14-12, 11-3, 11-8.

Two juniors tussled in the second spot, and here visitor Andrew Stone overcame Mason Blake of SCH, 12-10, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6. At number one, the opening game quickly landed in the Episcopal column, 11-3. The top gun for the Churchmen is Harvard-bound senior Devin McLaughlin, who played for the U.S. Junior World Team last summer.

Springside Chestnut Hill junior Phil Kelly made things a lot tougher for the national team player in the next two games. McLaughlin secured the second round at 11-8, then went ahead in the third. Kelly fought back to a 7-7 tie, and after the EA ace edged ahead 9-7, the scoreboard lingered there through four “let” calls (when there is interference between the players and no point is awarded). Eventually, the numbers turned over again and McLaughlin completed an 11-7 win.