SCH junior number one Samira Baird delivers a backhand stroke. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

SCH junior number one Samira Baird delivers a backhand stroke. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Area squash teams wrapped up the 2014-15 season by participating in a pair of major tournaments, the Mid-Atlantic Squash Association (MASA) championships at the end of January, and the U.S. High School Team Championships, which were held in Hartford, Conn. February 6-8.

In the first round of the MASA Division I tournament (quarterfinals), the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy boys blitzed Haverford School’s varsity “B” team, 9-0, while Germantown Friends handed Harriton/Lower Merion a 7-2 setback. The SCH girls knocked off Agnes Irwin and the GFS girls topped Penn Charter, both matches ending with 6-3 scores. In Division II for the boys, Penn Charter defeated Hill School, 8-1.

In the boys semifinals, SCH recorded another 9-0 victory, this time over the GFS Tigers. In the championship match, the Blue Devils ran up against Inter-Ac League champ Haverford School. For the second time this winter, Haverford won a 6-3 verdict over SCH, but at MASA the Devils made the many of the games closer than those in the regular-season clash.

Both the GFS and SCH girls succumbed in their semifinal matches, the Tigers bowing to Baldwin School and the Blue Devils going down to Episcopal Academy. EA defeated Baldwin, 7-2, in the finals.

With each local team missing one player for the third-place playoff, SCH won the bottom six matches on the ladder to prevail, 6-3, over Germantown Friends.

The Blue Devil girls’ team depth would not be put to full use at Nationals the following weekend, since that tournament employs a seven-match format as opposed to the nine-match alignment seen hereabouts for most of the season.

In the round of 16, SCH lost to Winsor School, 6-1, saved from a shutout by sophomore number four Joia McGivern. The Blue Devils won all three of their consolation bouts, though. Both Agnes Irwin and Taft School fell by 5-2 scores, with McGivern winning both times for the locals along with fellow sophomores Taylor Ferry (#3) and Grace Torsella (#6) and freshmen Lilly Soroko (#5) and Grace Rorke (#7).

The Blue Devils won their final match, 4-3, over Pingry School, and the victors here were McGivern, Soroko, Torsella, and Rorke.

GFS played Taft in the main draw, winning 6-1 thanks to senior Annie Tyson (#1), juniors Isabel Schmidt (#6) and Elizabeth Wallace (#7), sophomore Caroline Caraballo (#4), freshman Alex Pear (#5) and eighth-grader Daisy Lentz (#3). The Tigers left the main bracket in the quarterfinals, losing 7-0 to powerful Episcopal.

They ended their weekend with 2-5 outcomes against Winsor and Noble & Greenough School. Tyson and Lentz were the winners against Winsor, and in the other contest Caraballo and Wallace secured the W’s for GFS.

Penn Charter’s girls played in Division II of the tournament, putting up a 3-1 record. Number one Isabel Hirschberg, a senior headed to Princeton University, went 3-1 personally, while number two Elisabeth Ross, only an eighth-grader, won all of her matches.

Episcopal had beaten Baldwin at MASA, but the Churchwomen fell to defending champ Greenwich (Conn.) Academy in the semifinals at Nationals, while Baldwin went through to the finals and got by Greenwich, 4-3, to claim the U.S. crown.

The SCH boys breezed through their round of 16 match against Pingry, 6-1. Senior Brian Giegerich won in the top spot, and prevailing in the third through seventh positions were (in order) senior Brian Hamilton, sophomore Zane Jeka, junior Harrison Kapp, senior Michael Bown, and junior Henry Kelly.

Bown did not fare as well in the encounter with Taft, but the other five were all successful and the Blue Devils won, 5-2. After SCH suffered a 7-0 semifinal loss to eventual champ Brunswick School, another Connecticut team, Avon Old Farms, won the third-place match over the Devils, 5-2. Here, Kapp and Bown won their final matches for Springside Chestnut Hill.

Haverford, which had won the MASA tourney over the Devils, did not get as far as SCH at Nationals, falling to Avon Old Farms in the quarterfinal round.

Germantown Friends had junior number one Calvin McCafferty and sophomore number two Jack Lentz win their first bouts in Hartford, but the Tigers lost to Taft, 5-2. Also, senior number four Anand Butler was injured in that contest, so those below him on the team ladder moved up one spot for the rest of the weekend.

GFS won its first consolation bracket contest, defeating Pingry 4-3 with victories by senior Ben Caraballo (#3), juniors Felipe Sanz (#5) and Silas Shah (#6), and sophomore Garrett Melby (#7). After that, Shah was the lone victorious Tiger in a 6-1 setback against St. George’s School, then Germantown ended its run with a closer 4-3 loss to Packer Collegiate Institute. The Tigers got their wins from Sanz, Shah, and Melby.

Playing in Division II, the Penn Charter boys lost their main draw match to Groton School, 5-2, but did better in the consolations, defeating Bronxville “A” and New Canaan High School by 4-3 scores, and then beating Bryn Mawr’s Shipley School, 5-2. Three Quakers posted 3-1 records over the weekend; junior number four Tate Miller, freshman number five Marker Angelakis, and sophomore number six Reid Kleinman.

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