SCH junior number two Caroline Canning (foreground) heads to the front of the court in pursuit of the ball while Penn Charter sophomore Izzy Hirshberg gets ready to respond. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

The girls squash teams at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and Penn Charter had the first of their two scheduled head-to-head meetings on January 14, when the deeper SCH Lions notched a 6-3 victory at the Kline & Specter Squash Center, home of the PC Quakers.

Charter captured the number one and two matches and also prevailed in the fifth spot, but the visitors carried the rest as they recorded their first Girls Inter-Ac win out of their five league encounters thus far. The outcome resulted in an overall record of 4-6 for Springside Chestnut Hill, which had begun the new year with a 4-5 loss to Lawrenceville and a 9-0 sweep of another Mid-Atlantic Prep League team, Hill School.

Charter, which started 2013 with an 1-8 setback against Germantown Friends and a 2-7 defeat at the hands of Episcopal Academy, came out of the SCH match at 0-3 in the Inter-Ac and 2-5 overall.

The Quakers’ top two players, junior number one Margaux Losty and sophomore number two Izzy Hirshberg, came through as usual, each ascending to a 6-1 mark in interscholastic play this winter. SCH has had its premier pair trade places since the start of the season, and in the recent match at Charter Lions 10th-grader Francesca Fabiani fell to Losty, 11-3, 11-3, 11-4, while SCH junior Caroline Canning bowed to Hirshberg, 11-1, 11-3, 11-4.

The bad news for Penn Charter was that by the time those two bouts began, the visitors had clinched the team victory. The strong freshman number three for SCH, Samira Baird, got past PC junior Danielle Reisley, 11-5, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7. In the fourth position one of the Lions’ most consistent performers, Courtney Hamilton, recovered from a 1-5 shortfall in her opening game to win that segment, 11-8, and then she captured the next two games from fellow junior Leigh Steinberg, 11-6, 11-5.

In the fifth spot, where two seniors were featured, Penn Charter picked up its first win of the afternoon as Ryann Shaffer put up scores of 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 to overcome Hannah Baxter of SCH. Shaffer is still in the midst of the college selection process, while Baxter has chosen George Washington University.

Another Quakers senior, Emma Ebert, was in action at number six, where she lost to an 11th-grade visitor, Sarrah Schreffler, 11-2, 11-4, 11-3. The Lions also triumphed when juniors jousted one rung below on the ladder, where Leah Beight took the measure of the hosts’ Gabi Bembry, 11-7, 11-4, 11-3.

Allison Day, the only SCH sophomore aside from Fabiani, won 11-1, 11-4, 11-5 against PC senior number eight Rachael Garnick. A softball veteran who only recently took to squash, Garnick hopes to wield a racquet at Haverford College, where she gained early admission.

Rounding out the successful road trip for Springside Chestnut Hill, number nine Weatherly Saunders stopped Sydney Stokes, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7. Both players are 11th-graders.

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