by Tom Utescher
Last Wednesday the girls of Germantown Friends played their third straight squash match at their home venue, the Germantown Cricket Club.
The familiar surroundings haven’t given the Tigers an appreciable advantage over their guests, and on Wednesday they slipped to 0-3 on the season with an 8-1 setback against a tough Lawrenceville School squad.
GFS had recorded a few more individual wins in its first two contests, opening with a 6-3 loss to Penn Charter on November 29 and then succumbing by the same score to Episcopal Academy on Monday of last week.
Against Lawrenceville, Germantown Friends avoided a sweep by the Big Red in one of the last matches on the court, a battle at the number one spot between two future Ivy League racquetwomen.
The Tigers’ Daisy Lentz, who’ll be playing at Columbia University next year, faced Lawrenceville senior number one Brittany Sun, who is headed to Harvard. Lentz kept a few points ahead of her guest in the first game, winning 11-6.
She would have to come from behind in the second round, though, as a refocused Sun went out to a 9-7 lead. Lentz rallied, and after the score levelled out at 10-10, she captured the next two points for the victory. The GFS senior then bore down in the third game, earning an 11-5 win and taking the match, 3-0.
Lentz is a team captain for the Tigers this winter along with classmate Natalie Harrity. Playing number three in the Lawrenceville match, Harrity was overpowered by visiting junior Margo Mancuso. An area native, Mancuso learned to swing a racquet at the Philadelphia Cricket Club and then played for Baldwin School before switching to Lawrenceville.
Germantown’s number two, freshman Lindsey Burnham, was already playing in the third spot for the Tigers last year as an eighth-grader. She built up a lead over Big Red junior Isabel Paine in the first game, but Paine then ran off a string of points to prevail, 12-10. The next two games also went the visiting player’s way, 11-3, 11-6.
The top three Tigers were all playing in their regular positions on the team ladder, but an injury at number four caused each of the other GFS players to bump up one spot. The immediate effect of this was a win through forfeit for Lawrenceville in the ninth position, since the home team had no one to oppose junior Jess Bianco.
With these changes, there happened to be two sophomores squaring off at number four, a pair of juniors jousting in the five spot and a pair of seniors squabbling at number six. In the fourth position, Isabelle Tilney-Sandberg beat the Tigers’ Evan Weiss, 11-2, 11-2, 11-1. Lawrenceville also won in three games at five and six; Mia Mahfood over Erin Schott (11-7, 11-2,, 11-2), and Ellie Hopkins over Jane MacRae (11-2, 11-7, 11-5).
Another Lawrenceville senior, Ivy Zhang, topped the Tigers’ freshman number seven, Dylan Ragas, 11-4, 11-4, 11-7, and at number eight a junior for the Big Red, Hazel Schaus, was an 11-3, 11-2, 11-3 winner over Claire Partridge, a Germantown Friends senior.
Germantown Cricket Club pro Chris Longman, who hails from Manchester, England, is temporarily coaching the Tigers for the early weeks of the season. The girls’ regular coach, Kim Lightner, will return from maternity leave shortly, then Longman will move over to pilot the GFS boys.