by Tom Utescher
At the start of Thanksgiving week, Germantown Friends and Penn Charter got the girls squash season underway in a Monday afternoon encounter at PC’s Kline & Specter Squash Center.
The host Quakers prevailed in the second and third positions, but the GFS Tigers swept the rest of the nine official matches to notch a 7-2 victory in their 2013-14 debut.
The even-numbered matches were on the court first, and in a bout between juniors, PC’s Izzy’s Hirschberg looked strong and consistent in an 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 win at number two over Germantown’s Grayson Melby. This result was counterbalanced by a Tigers triumph in the fourth spot, where junior Hannah Safford took the measure of Charter senior Danielle Reisley, taking their three games at six, five, and five.
Overall, the first round of matches produced a 3-1 GFS advantage. Visiting number six Elizabeth Wallace won 11-5, 11-0, 11-3 over fellow sophomore Jordyn Schwartz of Penn Charter, and in the eighth position freshman Caroline Caroline Caraballo earned an 11-1, 11-4, 11-2 decision over a Quakers 10th-grader, Jenni Brown.
The number five match featured a pair of seniors who had just finished the fall sports season by participating in the Pa. Independent Schools soccer championships. While Leigh Steinberg’s PC booters seized the soccer title, in the squash box it was Germantown’s Claire Schmidt who came out on top last week, 11-7, 11-4, 11-7.
Schmidt’s sophomore sister, Isabel, posted scores of 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 in the number seven bout as she overcame Gwen Davis, a Quakers eighth-grader, and in three extended games at number nine, the Tigers’ Ann Carpenter clipped Claudia Dykstra, a fellow junior, 12-10, 13-11, 12-10.
Carpenter was a member of Germantown Friends’ league champion tennis team this fall, as was another participant in last Monday’s squash square-off. Olivia Fiechter was the number two player on the Tigers’ tennis squad, but on the squash court the longtime junior national team member takes a back seat to no one.
Fiechter, a senior co-captain of the GFS squash squad this winter along with the elder Schmidt, faced another 12th-grader, Charter’s Margaux Losty, last week. An accomplished player in her own right, Losty put up stiff resistance in the opening game, eventually going down 7-11. After that, Fiechter, in her own words, “woke up and focused.” Taking more care to avoid Losty’s dangerous forehand, the top Tiger charged to 11-2, 11-1 victories in the second and third games.
The last match out on the courts displayed the talents of a rising star for Charter, seventh-grader Elizabeth Ross. She opened the number three match with 11-6, 11-7 wins, but GFS junior Annie Tyson rebounded to carry the next two rounds, 11-8, 11-6. Ross then gutted out an 11-5 fifth game to join Hirshberg in the win column for the Quakers.
PC also won an exhibition match between the number 10 players from the two schools, with senior Sydney Stokes topping 10th-grader Jess Newberg, 11-4, 11-6, 13-11.