by Tom Utescher
At last Tuesday’s Inter-Ac League tennis match at Germantown Academy, both the host Patriots and the visiting Blue Devils of Springside Chestnut Hill were looking for a win that would put them back on even footing in the league with a 2-2 record.
GA (5-6 overall) moved to the verge of victory fairly quickly by winning the first three matches to be completed, two in singles play, and one in doubles. It would take some time for the Patriots to claim the clincher, though, as SCH (5-4) hung tough in a number of bouts and a total of four contests went into a third set.
GA eventually earned a favorable 5-2 verdict in the encounter, climbing back to the .500 mark in league play while Springside Chestnut Hill headed home at 1-3 in the Inter-Ac.
GA’s Edik Pribitkin, a junior, put the first singles match in the Patriots’ column as he secured a 6-0, 6-3 decision over another 11th-grader, the Blue Devils’ Jordan Lubell. In a fight between freshmen in the second spot, Germantown’s Alex Yan won 6-0, 6-3 against Levi Veleanu of SCH.
Springside Chestnut Hill appeared on its way to a straight-sets triumph at third doubles, where sophomore Simon Kioko and senior Wilson Jones won the opening round, 6-4, and then brought up match point in the second set. GA ninth-graders Jason Wang and Abraham staved off defeat, though, with the help of some double-faults and errant strokes by the Devils.
The Patriot pair captured the second set 7-6 (5), but Kioko and Jones finally got back to match point again in the third set, winning 6-4.
GA won the first doubles flight as sophomore Jason Chee and junior Fisher Rhodes took two 6-2 sets from freshman Carlo Filippini and sophomore Cole Golden of SCH, and at fourth doubles juniors Joshua Felgoise and Reid Becker of the Patriots prevailed against 10th-grade guests Nick Dolente and Jared Ye, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-2.
Yet another three-setter went the Blue Devils’ way, with sophomore Ehson Shirazi and freshman Sante Filippini (Carlo’s twin brother) outlasting GA sophomores Grant Griswold and Benjamin Dobbins, 7-6 (6), 1-6, 6-2.
The victorious Patriots would ultimately come out on top with one match to spare, posting a fifth victory when a hard-fought third singles bout ended with a 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5) win for junior Matthew Rojas over SCH sophomore Victor Jones (brother of Wilson).
There’s an interesting coaching dynamic this season involving GA and teams from some schools relatively nearby. First-year Patriots head coach Guadalupe Prince spends the fall season coaching the team at Gwynedd Mercy Academy, an all-girls school. When the GA girls compete in the autumn, it is under the direction of Lora Ball, who in the spring moves over to mentor the boys of Upper Dublin High School. Ball’s strong Upper Dublin squad defeated GA, 7-0, in a match in the middle of last month.