by Tom Utescher
Four girls varsity teams from Springside Chestnut Hill Academy were invited over to Bryn Mawr last Saturday for homecoming games at Inter-Ac rival Baldwin School. Each institution came away with some positives, as the visiting Blue Devils and host Bears wound up with a 2-2 split.
There were big wins for SCH in field hockey (5-0) and for Baldwin in tennis (6-1), but the other two contests were much closer. In an extended fifth game, the Blue Devil volleyball bunch won 18-16 to prevail in the match by a 3-2 score, while in soccer SCH scored with six minutes left to pull within one goal of the Bears, but then could not get the equalizer and fell, 5-4.
Field hockey was one of the first sports to get underway, with the Blue Devils and Bears both seeking their first league victory of the season. Springside Chestnut Hill immediately took control of the play, getting on the board seven-and-a-half minutes into the action with a goal by sophomore Mason Rode. SCH continued to attack, but was held off by the Bears until late in the first period. Rode assisted senior Allie Billock with a little over six minutes remaining to make it 2-0 at halftime.
Earning two penalty corners in the first three minutes of the second half, the visitors never lost momentum. They didn’t score directly off of these corners, but soon after the second restart Billock rang up her second goal of the day, scoring from the midst of a crowd in front of the left post.
Four more Blue Devil corners followed, and on the last one junior Lily Glendinning hit the right post with a shot. With 17:32 left to play, Rode scored her second goal on a flick from about 10 yards out in the middle of the circle. The final score went up on the board with 15:10 remaining, when Rode’s senior sister, Carlin, sent a pass inside to set up a strike by Glendinning.
With the Blue Devils deploying their reserves, Baldwin generated a little more offensive activity late in the match, earning three corners. Still, SCH junior goalie Frankie Reitmeyer needed only two saves to record the shutout, while Baldwin keeper Maddie Carre, under almost continuous pressure, turned in 22 saves for the Bears. The Blue Devils improved to 1-6 in the league, and moved above the .500 mark overall, at 9-8.
Things weren’t working out as well for the visitors on the tennis courts, where Baldwin was trying to add to a lone Inter-Ac win over Penn Charter while the Blue Devils were still in search of an elusive first “W” in league play.
The lone winner for the visiting side was junior Federica Cristofanilli, who wrested a 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) victory at second singles from Baldwin’s Isabel Senior. At first and third singles, Emma Sass and Lauren Wang of the Bears each enjoyed a successful 6-1, 6-0 outcome, facing SCH’s Aakanksha Sharma and Melanie Graves, respectively.
At third doubles, Jess Regam and Marlene Savage of the Blue Devils and Jasmine Syed and Alexa Bartels of Baldwin each took one set at 6-4. Because the home side had already clinched the team victory, a full third set was replaced by a tiebreaker, which the Bear pair won, 11-9.
At first doubles it was Ali Thaler and Ari Hairston winning 6-1, 6-4 for the hosts against Victoria Walters and Allison Day, and in the second flight Springside Chestnut Hill’s Cindy Pan and Emily Swan succumbed to Julia Greitzer and Davis Madeja, 6-3, 6-2. The fourth doubles duo for Baldwin, Caroline Buchner and Rachel Dichter, went through at 6-2, 6-3 against Annabel Grove and Sophia Haegley of the Blue Devils.
Meanwhile, on Baldwin’s lower field the field hockey cages had been replaced by soccer goals, and the host Bears took to the pitch looking for their first Inter-Ac League win. They pushed right up on offense and had Krista Hinchman score the game’s opening goal with less than four minutes elapsed.
The Blue Devils saw their first shot saved and then were unable to get off a shot on a corner kick. About 14 minutes in, Baldwin was awarded a penalty kick, but the shooter fired low into the middle and SCH freshman goalie Morgan Bender latched onto the ball.
Midway through the first half, Blue Devils junior Meghan McCool beat a defender near the right endline and tied the game at 1-1. Four minutes later, she found the net on an outside shot from the right side. The resulting 2-1 tally was only up on the board for two minutes when the Bears were given another PK. This time they let Hinchman take it, and she converted high on the right.
McCool was able to provide the visitors with a 3-2 halftime lead with just 58 seconds remaining in the first period. On a direct kick from almost 30 yards out on the left, she bowed the ball around the Bears’ defensive wall. Completing a natural hat trick, she moved the Blue Devils ahead for the last time in the game.
The Blue Devils were scoring largely as a result of transition sequences and other quick strikes. At the other end though, Baldwin was allowed to spend far too much time in the Devils’ defensive third. Bender played one of her best games, piling up 19 saves, but the Bears simply had too many chances.
SCH fought off one possible tying goal when freshman Grace Rorke cleared the ball off the goal line early in the second half. Eventually, Marissa McGarry brought Baldwin even with 15 minutes gone in the period. Just over two minutes later, the Bears went up 4-3 as Rachel White dribbled into the box and fired.
The winning goal, chipped across into the right side of the net from near the opposite post, was scored by McGarry with a dozen minutes left. The Blue Devils were reenergized with a little over six minutes to go, when freshman Emily McNesby took the ball down the left wing, angled in, and fired into the far side of the Bears’ den.
SCH had a few chances to tie the game, but desperation didn’t make for good shot selection. Baldwin held on for the victory as goalie Kayla Watkins registered 12 saves. Springside Chestnut Hill’s record slipped to 1-6 in the league, and 8-7-1 overall.
In the lone indoor event on the agenda, SCH was able to secure its first league victory in volleyball. Winning the opening set, 25-20, the Blue Devils dropped the next two at 16 and 19 before climbing back into a 2-2 tie with a 25-19 victory in set four.
The fifth set is usually won by the first team to accumulate 15 points, but the Blue Devils and Bears had to battle for a few extra minutes before SCH finally gained the required two-point advantage, winning 18-16 to clinch the match. The Devils’ record rose to 9-6 overall and 1-5 in the Inter-Ac with the league victory, which came on the heels of a 3-0 non-league win three days earlier (see separate article).