Penn Charter eighth-grader Marco Rodriguez reaches for a low shot during last week’s varsity victory over Malvern. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Penn Charter eighth-grader Marco Rodriguez reaches for a low shot during last week’s varsity victory over Malvern. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

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.

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