Springside Chestnut Hill senior Mason Blake unleashes a backhand against James Fulham of The Taft School. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Springside Chestnut Hill senior Mason Blake unleashes a backhand against James Fulham of The Taft School. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy shoehorned a capacity crowd into its Willow Grove campus squash courts last Saturday, when the Blue Devils took on two visiting schoolboy squads from Connecticut.

In the morning, SCH dropped a 1-8 decision to Brunswick School, which is led by a player ranked in the top 10 nationally and is one of the favorites to win the national high school team championship at the end of the 2013-14 season.

Out with a stress fracture that carried over from soccer season, SCH’s returning number one, senior Phil Kelly, had to sit out during both of Saturday’s bouts. Despite missing Kelly and another regular first-string athlete for their afternoon match against Taft School, the Blue Devils turned in a successful performance, taking a 10-player match at 7-3.

Against Brunswick, junior Matt Giegerich saved Springside Chestnut Hill from a shutout by winning the number four match, 3-2. The Blue Devils lost three other contests by that same close score, including senior Sean Kenny’s confrontation with Bruins number one Hayes Murphy. The other players who took their Brunswick rivals into a fifth game were senior number eight Carlen Veasey and freshman number nine Zane Jeka.

The number five for the Blue Devils, freshman Chris Dalglish, was feeling under the weather from the outset, and after his morning match it was decided he should sit out the afternoon encounter with Taft. That meant that more than half of the Blue Devils’ players were bumping up not just one spot from the originally projected order, but two.

Nevertheless, 3-0 victories on each of the top four rungs of the ladder helped the host team conquer the Rhinos without too much difficulty.

Matt Giegerich became the only Blue Devil to win both of his Saturday matches by capturing three 11-5 games at number four, and his brother Brian, a senior, prevailed 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 in the third spot.

Kenny won in the premier position, 11-2, 11-1, 11-7, and fellow senior Mason Blake came through at number two, 11-6, 11-5, 11-2.

In the middle of the line-up, each team won a five-game battle, and these were the last two matches out on the courts. Veasey pulled out an 11-9, 11-8, 10-12, 9-11, 15-13 victory at number seven, and on an adjacent court junior Michael Bown bowed to Rhinos number five Coley Cannon, who won 13-11, 11-8, 6-11, 7-11, 11-7.

SCH had already picked up the fifth win necessary for a team triumph, with Jeka sweeping the number eight match, 11-6, 11-3, 11-5. In the number 10 match, technically an exhibition, Blue Devils sophomore Harrison Kapp came out on top, 11-3, 11-4, 11-7.

The other two Taft wins came at number six, where Brandon Salvatore overcame SCH junior Brian Hamilton, 11-3, 11-5, 11-9, and at number nine, where Alex Dworetzky, a Chestnut Hill area native and former Penn Charter student, was a 4-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 winner over Blue Devils sophomore Henry Kelly (brother of the injured Phil Kelly).

Springside Chestnut Hill had actually opened its 2013-14 season two days earlier with a 9-0 Inter-Ac League victory at Penn Charter. The winners for SCH were Kenny, Blake, Brian Giegerich, Matt Giegerich, Dalglish, Bown, Hamilton, Veasey, and Jeka.

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