Jane MacRae, a GFS junior, serves during her number seven match at Springside Chestnut Hill. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

After an 0-3 start to the girls’ squash season, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy moved above the .500 mark last Wednesday with a 7-2 victory over Germantown Friends that raised the Blue Devils’ record to 4-3.

The visiting GFS Tigers tabbed a win in the number six spot and then prevailed at number one in the last match out on the court. The rest went to SCH, but GFS still departed with a winning record overall, now at 5-3.

Springside Chestnut Hill’s four-game win streak began on January 11 with a 6-3 victory at Penn Charter; the Blue Devils would go on to beat Conestoga High School and Harriton/Lower Merion by greater margins.

Last Wednesday at SCH two tall number five players were missing from the line-ups; SCH senior Grace Rorke was home sick, and GFS junior Claire Weiss was out with an injury. As each team bumped players up from the middle of the line-up on down, GFS brought junior Taliah Broadus up to play at number nine, and to face her SCH elevated senior Emily Biscardi.

Before the matches began, Biscardi and the absent Rorke were honored in a Senior Day ceremony along with the Blue Devils’ two 12th-grade captains, Hannah Larkin and Lilly Soroko.

Biscardi won her match, 11-5, 11-3, 11-4, and at number eight freshman Charlotte Stahlecker stopped her sophomore guest, Erin Schott, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7. Germantown Friends picked up an early victory thanks to freshman Evan Weiss, who lost the first game at number six to SCH junior Audrey Hong and then bounced back to win the next three, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8.

Blue Devils senior Hannah Larkin goes low for the ball during her successful outing in the number three spot. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Just above and below, however, the home team chalked up wins in the fifth and seventh slots. Number five Maggie Pearson won 12-10, 11-8, 11-4, against fellow sophomore Katie Benoliel of the Tigers. In the seventh position freshman Celia Mazzarelli, daughter of SCH coach Janine Mazzarelli, secured 11-6 wins in each of the first two games. GFS junior Jane MacRae made things much more difficult for her young host in the third round, but Mazzarelli eventually prevailed, 14-12.

Once SCH’s Larkin and sophomore Abbie Rorke came out on top in the number three and four matches, the team victory belonged to the Blue Devils. Larkin put up scores of 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 over Germantown number three Lindsey Burnham, an eighth-grader. Rorke, the younger sister of the ailing Grace Rorke, received stiff opposition from GFS junior Natalie Harrity in the first two games, but prevailed 12-10, 11-9. In the third, Rorke rolled, 11-1.

At number two, Soroko of SCH went past the Tigers’ Alex Pear, 11-5, 11-4, 11-6. Although both players are seniors, they may be facing each other again after their high school careers conclude. Soroko will attend Amherst College and Pear is bound for Williams College, both members of the NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference).

The GFS junior number one, Daisy Lentz, had been playing in the British Junior Open at the start of the month, but last week she received a challenge right in the neighborhood from Springside’s eighth-grade standout, Whitney Taylor.

Lentz went to 13-11 to take the first game, and in the second Taylor got out to a 7-3 lead and won, 11-8. Lentz’s experience, including the number of different shots in her repertoire, emerged in the last two games. Still, these were not walkovers, with the Tigers 11th-grader winning both at 11-7 for the second GFS victory of the day.