by Tom Utescher
Penn Charter boys squash coach Geoff Shields was under the weather last Thursday, but the longtime PC skipper must have felt a little better when he heard that the Quakers successfully wrapped up their home away series against Inter-Ac League rival Malvern Prep.
After winning at Malvern by an 8-1 count back in mid-December, Charter went one better last week, taking the rematch at its own Kline & Specter Squash Center, 9-0. With the most recent victory, the Quakers improved to 2-6 in league play, and 3-8 overall.
The closest the Friars came to a win last Thursday was in the number eight match, where a pair of freshmen went at it in a five-game tussle. PC’s Reid Kleinman got off to an auspicious start by capturing the first two games, 11-6, 11-7, but visitor Mac Updike rallied to tie the bout at 2-2 by winning each of the next two rounds at 11-9. An extended fifth game saw Kleinman eventually prevail, 15-13.
One step below, sophomore number nine Blaise Crofton took down Tommy White, a Malvern freshman, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6, and just above Kleinman in the order, Charter’s number seven, David Kestenbaum, won 11-4, 11-1, 11-7 over a fellow 10th-grader, Alex Sorenson.
Each of the PC players in the middle third of the line-up also won in three straight games. Senior Matt Franz dispatched Friars junior Matt Leonard in the fourth spot, 11-4, 11-4, 11-9, and at number five the youngest player in the Penn Charter pack, eighth-grader Marco Rodriguez, was an 11-8, 11-4, 11-5 winner over a visiting junior, Steve Conduit.
Another 11th-grader from Malvern, number six Jason McLarney, fell to a sophomore from the host team, Tate Miller, by scores of 11-4, 11-6, 11-7.
In each of the top three bouts, the Friars were able to win one game off of their Penn Charter hosts. A lengthy opening game at number three went to Malvern junior Harrison Locke, 13-11, then Quakers senior Quin Crofton responded convincingly, taking the next three jousts at 11-5, 11-5, 11-6.
The other eighth-grader in action besides PC’s Rodriguez was Malvern’s P.J. Podden, and he won the first game of the number two match, 11-4. The next three went to senior Noah Hollin of the host team, 11-6, 13-11, 11-2.
Two juniors converged in the top spot, where an 11-8 win in the opening game by the Quakers’ Owen Davis drew a successful response from Vincent Wargeela of Malvern, who claimed the second round at 11-7. The momentum shifted back to Davis, who took the third game, 11-6, and then rolled, 11-2, in the fourth.